This photo was taken at Silver Lake, New Hampshire this summer, where I am the director of Brantwood Camp for Girls.
Ms. Kozak grew up in Boston after immigrating from Poland at the age of six. She has spent much of her life teaching kids in outdoor settings, both as the director of an all-girls summer camp that serves low-income girls and as a facilitator with Outward Bound. She began her formal teaching career as a Teach For America Corps Member in 2013 in the Rio Grande Valley where she taught English Language Arts at Miller Jordan Middle School in San Benito, Texas. Ms. Kozak then continued her career as a special educator at Austin Discovery School in Austin, Texas leading general education classes and resource classes as well as co-teaching across content areas. She is excited to return to her home state and continue her teaching career in New Bedford.
Why did you choose the Alma team?
I love the idea of working in a community-focused K-8 school. I love boats and has worked on them in the past, so being part of the Alma “Crew” seemed like a natural fit!
What do you hope to contribute to Alma?
I hope I can be a positive team member that can also bring in a lot of team building strategies I’ve learned through my time in outdoor education. As I step back into a general education science role, I know my two years as a special educator will elevate my general classroom teaching to ensure all scholars are successful and that my English teaching experience will help ensure a literacy focus in science.
What is your top goal during your first year with Alma?
I am excited to really grow as a teacher. While I feel confident in my skills in the classroom, I have never had regular coaching and am ready to make serious growth in the classroom.
What teacher made a difference in your life — how?
I have been lucky. I have had many excellent teachers who strived to push me to be curious, make art, and become a better writer. My most influential teachers were two of my high school English teachers. They cared not just about my learning, but my emotional growth too. When I think about the type of teacher I want to be for my students, these two pop into my mind.
Why did you become involved in education?
Working with kids brings me a joy and zest for life. Watching them grow or figure something out on their own is invigorating. When I was in school, my teachers were instrumental in my development as a person, and I want to be this person.
Where did you go to college? What did you like about your college?
I went to UMass Boston. I was undocumented when I graduated high school, and I could not access many higher education opportunities. It took me a year to figure out how even get to a four year college. UMass Boston offered me in-state tuition which made a college degree attainable for me. I graduated with a BA in Anthropology.
What is your favorite place / food / book / music / art? (choose two)
I love the ocean! I am very happy to back on the east coast near the water. I also love cheese.