We are pleased to share that our very own Middle School mathematics teacher, Alicia Rodriguez, is the recipient of the Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching. Ms. Rodriguez, who joined Kent Place in 2017 after a 12-year career at Summit High School, is one of just four educators statewide to win the award.
“While teaching under pandemic conditions continues to be stressful and challenging for teachers across the nation, the four prize winners have been able to provide a truly exceptional education for their students,” said Todd Kent, director of Princeton’s Program in Teacher Preparation. “Although they work in different subject areas and in very different school settings, they all share a total commitment to the intellectual growth and emotional well-being of their students. Their stories are wonderful and inspiring, and the influence of their remarkable work is felt throughout their school communities.”
Ms. Rodriguez’s involvement with students goes beyond the classroom: She is a Middle School advisor and the Grade 8 Team Leader; a member of the Admission Committee; and a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging facilitator. She was recently appointed the Economics and Financial Literacy Program Coordinator.
“What I really appreciate about Kent Place is that students are encouraged to be who they are, to discover who they are, and to enjoy the discovery,” says Ms. Rodriguez. “Developmentally, for a girl in middle school to be able to speak aloud and ask questions in the moment is really important. The girls are encouraged to try things that are hard and not fear failure. We spend time honoring what we know helps girls learn best. I’m grateful to be a part of that.”
Countless students wanted to voice their admiration for their teacher. “I wish I could tell you she just loved me,” said one, “but Ms. Rodriguez gave extra time to every student at Kent Place — every student — not just those in her classes.”
“Ms. Rodriguez is undoubtedly the one person who has shaped my school experience the most,” says another student. “She has changed the way I view myself, my capabilities in mathematics, and my potential as a leader.”
Says Middle School Director Kooheli Chatterji: “To know Alicia is to know an unwavering champion of students who approaches teaching and learning with a deep-seated belief that every child is worthy of admiration and capable of extraordinary things.”
Princeton University honored Ms. Rodriguez and the three other recipients of this award Tuesday, May 24, at its 2022 Commencement.
"Everyone at Kent Place is immensely proud of her well-deserved achievement, a testament to her commitment to elevating and empowering female voices in mathematics," remarks Jennifer Galambos, Head of School. "Please join me in congratulating her."