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.