Meet Nick Bellamy:
Our 6th Grade Math Teacher at ChangeMakers Academy in Vallejo!
Tell us about yourself...
I moved to Vallejo when I was 7 years old. I went to Cooper Elementary, Vallejo Jr High School (now the site of Caliber CMA) and Vallejo High. Being from Vallejo, I always knew I was going to eventually move back and contribute to my Community; I just wasn't sure in what capacity. Growing up in a family of educators, I was eventually called to the world of education myself. I received my BS in Marketing from University of Phoenix and I am now completing my MAED/ Secondary Education in Mathematics. As I was looking for new opportunities to teach math, I received 5 offers between High School, Middle School and Elementary schools. Caliber had the best hiring process, school culture, and support structure so I enthusiastically became a founding member of the ChangeMakers Team.
What is your favorite thing about teaching math?
Being able to help students understand the way numbers work. Some students are so afraid to simply look at a math problem and psych themselves out before they even attempt to do the work. Being a math teacher allows me to support and address that self inflicted fear and help develop an "anything is possible" attitude in our students.
What was your favorite subject growing up?
History and Math
Did you always think you were going to become a teacher?
I had many other plans growing up. I wanted to be a Doctor, Marketing Executive, Head Chef, Pro Athlete, and Post Production Sound Engineer. Then, 4 years ago I had an epiphany that if I wanted our education system to change, I should begin to work on helping make that change I want to see.
What is your favorite candy bar or sweet treat?
Yogurt covered almonds.
If you could go on a dream vacation, what would you do and where would you go?
I would go to Maldives for 2 months (the whole summer) without any technology. I would sleep, swim, explore, and just spend time with my family
What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area (or specifically about Vallejo!)?
I love the diversity and rich culture in Vallejo, and the bay area in general.
Meet Michelle! She is our rockstar 7th + 8th grade History teacher at Caliber Beta Academy.
Michelle Cardenas was born and raised in a town called West New York, New Jersey to two Cuban immigrants. She attended Montclair State University and earned her bachelor's degree in History and secondary education. Ms. Cardenas came to us from Achievement First; she has been teaching American history and ELA in middle schools and high schools for 5 years in Newark, Trenton, and Brooklyn, NYC. She is a drama geek, loves to read fantasy books, go to stand up comedy shows, play basketball and baseball, and once had her own radio talk show. She is incredibly excited to be in the Bay Area and be a part of the Caliber family!
Learn more about Michelle in a recent interview:
1. What is your favorite history topic to teach?
I love all things history so I can't dilute it down to one time period! (Although I love me some Turn of the Century, Roaring Twenties and WWII). My passion, however, is teaching history centered through inquiry and social justice. I love presenting the multiple narratives of not only those who have gained so much but those who have also suffered great pain and loss. The voices of the sung and unsung heroes alike.
2. What was your favorite subject growing up?
History & English. Surprise. Surprise. Although I also enjoyed Drama and Choir that I took all 4 years of High School.
3. Did you always think you were going to become a teacher?
I like telling the joke that I became a teacher because I'm a failed actress. However, I knew sometime in high school that I really wanted to teach in order to give back to underserved communities like the one I grew up in. Being in the classroom seemed like the perfect way to do that.
4. What is your favorite candy bar?
Not really a "bar" but...Hershey's Dark Chocolate kisses.
5. If you could go on a dream vacation, what would you do + where would you go?
This question is particularly tough because I'm in the middle of planning a honeymoon for my upcoming wedding. Besides my dreams of backpacking the world, I'd really love to go back to my family's roots in Cuba to see the beautiful Island they are from and meet family members that only know me through mailed photographs.
6. What is your favorite thing so far about the Bay Area?
Okay this might sound strange but..."life". It seems like people in the Bay put self care, personal priorities, and mindfulness above all else. The pace of life is so much slower, more purposeful, and in the present. It is such a vast different from the "grind till you die" of New York City.