World Language Department Teacher
Dr. Christopher Avilés has taught Spanish in the Boston Public Schools since the 2000-2001 school year. He has also taught as an adjunct professor in the Leadership in Urban Schools Doctoral program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston since 2010. He believes that education truly is the most important means of social mobility through meritocracy, and that through the study of language, students learn to connect more to the world beyond the familiar streets of their own neighborhoods, and that through the study of other cultures, students learn more about themselves and their own cultural identities. As an educator, he believes that education is not a neutral process that is strictly academic, but rather, a process that always takes place in a social, cultural, political, economic, and historic context. Dr. Avilés identifies as a post-modern critical pedagogue and subscribes to critical theories of education.
Dr. A (as he is affectionately known by his students) was raised in a single parent, low-income household in the City of Brockton, MA. As a teenager, he was an at-risk youth whose education happened more often on the streets than in a formal classroom setting. Having experienced a lack of engagement in high school himself, he understands first-hand the challenges that many of his students face. He found resiliency through art and music. He taught himself to play guitar, bass, piano, drums, and the harmonica. He is a portrait artist, cartoonist, songwriter, recording artist, and has been a self-proclaimed “world famous rapper” (at the behest of his students) since approximately 1997. He discovered a true passion for learning through art and music and, as a result, managed to thrive in college despite his troubled high school experience.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1997. He continued on at UMass earning his Master of Education (M.Ed) degree in 2001, and his Doctor of Education (Ed.D) degree in 2009. Along with a professional teaching license in Spanish as a foreign language, Dr. Avilés is also licensed to teach students with moderate disabilities, is SEI-RETELL licensure endorsed, and has a Principal’s license. In 2008 he was nominated both Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, and Boston Teacher of the Year. Dr. Avilés was honored to present his research on mentoring teachers new to urban schooling at the 2009 American Educational Researchers Association’s (AERA) national conference in San Diego, California. Most recently, he was honored by Williams College as recipient of the prestigious George Olmsted Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching in June, 2015.