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Meet Hector King, ExpandED Schools Pathways Fellow

Marissa Badgley

Marissa Badgley is the Programs and Policy Manager at ExpandED Schools.

Hector King, ExpandED Schools Pathways Fellow

In partnership with NYC Men Teach and the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), the ExpandED Schools Pathways Fellowship is a 10-month program designed to bring in, support, train and guide passionate men of color (Fellows) who are looking for pathways into teaching or youth development careers.

Marissa Badgley: What in your life led you to pursuing a career in education or youth development?

Hector King: An instinct and desire to help turned into a love for teaching. My neighbor and her grandchildren led me to aspire to teach. My neighbor is like my mother -- I stop by every evening to visit her after work. She speaks no English. Her grandchildren would always ask me to help them with their homework. I didn’t matter how tired and restless I felt, I always took time out to aid them. What a great experience it was and continues to be! The oldest grandchild is a senior in high school. He called me over the other night to help him fill out his financial aid application. I'm so proud of him. He told me that he is inspired to go to college because I did. Those words brought tears to my eyes, but I quickly put a smile on my face and told him that I'll be there with him every step of the way. I'm just a door away.


MB: Why is participating in this Fellowship important to you?

AM: This fellowship is a blessing to me. It's giving me the tools I need to tackle any challenges in my future endeavors. The ExpandED Schools Pathways Fellowship offers education, engagement, empowerment and enhancement of skills. I'm being exposed to what I will experience in the future. I had always wanted to teach in elementary school, but now that I'm working in a junior high school, I think I want to try that level. And ExpandED Schools has provided this platform for exploration.

MB: What makes you a good role model for NYC students?

AM: I'm a good role model for NYC students because I grew up here, and I was educated here. I migrated here from Panama at the tender age of 8. I was raised in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn and grew up in El Barrio, the east side of Harlem. I continue to live in the hood, where I learn and appreciate a lot. I'm very grateful to have gone to very prestigious schools here in NYC, from Fiorello H LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts (where I studied acting) and Hunter College (where I studied English). I've seen and was exposed to a lot. I learn from everyone around me. I know the struggle, and I don't think I'm better than anyone else. I just want the ability to move around the world comfortably, and I came to realize that education is the only way to do that.

MB: Describe a teacher or educator who made a difference in your life. What did s/he do? Why was it important to you.

AM: Mr. Villano, my 7th and 8th grade teacher. He is my biggest fan. He thought I was talented and encouraged me to apply for the High School of Performing Arts. I took his advice and auditioned, and got in with no prior experience, raw. He saw something in me I never knew I had or could utilize; from then on I took his advice. When I graduated junior high school and was on my way to high school, Mr. Villano pulled me aside and told me to start looking into college. (He suggested Queens College, which also has a great theater program.) I took his advice from that day on. I knew I was going to college because Mr. Villano told me I could and should. Not only did he predict the high school I would be able to go to, he went further and told me to look into college before I started high school. I haven’t seen Mr. Villano in over 20 years, but he is the reason why I pull through. I owe so much to that man --  he opened up my mind as well as my world, literally.

MB: Tell us something interesting about yourself that is unrelated to education or working with students.

AM: I love to travel, and I love to be entertained. I go to the theater at least twice a month.



 

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