EASTHAM — I moved from Puerto Rico to New York City as an infant. My parents, like so many others, had made the difficult decision to leave their homeland and seek a better life for their children on the mainland. I entered the public schools, first at P.S. 121 in Manhattan, as a non-English-speaking student. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before my siblings and I benefited from the gifts of teachers who took a child from the unknown to the known and opened a world of possibilities. It was in those early years when I was first inspired to become an educator.
I began as an elementary teacher of bilingual classes and of English as a second language in Hempstead, Long Island. Over 40-plus years I taught students from preschool through graduate school, and for 16 years, I was an elementary school principal in Hempstead; Rochester, N.Y.; Arlington, Va.; and Sofia, Bulgaria. I also directed bilingual and English-as-a-second-language programs in Rochester, and multicultural teacher education at the State University of New York at Geneseo, preparing education majors to become adept at working with children of diverse cultural backgrounds. For the last 10 years, I taught in the master’s in international education program at Framingham State University.
I came to live in Eastham in 2019 and considered what I would do as a retiree. When I heard through my friends Marcia Goffin and Mary Shanley that there was an opening on the elementary school committee, I tuned in to the committee meetings, met briefly with the school principal, and had conversations with some staff, parents, and neighbors. I came away very encouraged by the direction the local schools are taking.
In my conversations with school personnel, I was especially inspired by the work taking place on diversity and global awareness. It is clear to me that a comprehensive education requires a balance of intellectual discipline and spiritual cultivation. As educators, we play a major role in helping to grow citizens of the world who will strive to create communities and societies that work for all people.
At Ashlawn Elementary School in Arlington, Va., where I was principal, we designed and implemented a program that involved integrating the principles of global citizenship across the curriculum. Our Global Citizenship Program was built on the United Nations Earth Charter: cultural pluralism, conservation, social justice, and working for peace through nonviolent means. That project provided a clear vision to students, staff, and parents on what it means to receive an education that is truly well rounded and relevant.
I also have had significant experience with standards-based education and understand that instruction is greatly enhanced when the content standards are clearly articulated and vertically aligned. I have worked closely with teachers to fully integrate technology into their instruction rather than teaching technology as a subject. I have also been a strong advocate of the arts in the schools where I have worked.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “True leadership emerges from those whose primary motivation is a deep desire to help others.” It would be a privilege to work collaboratively with the Eastham community, growing children with the capacity, the skills, and the compassion required to build a better future for all.
Edgar Miranda is running unopposed for school committee in the May 18 Eastham town election.