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#PREPpeople: Stacy Banos
Posted 03/07/2019 05:00PM

One in an occasional series of snapshots spotlighting the people of St. John’s Prep

Stacy Banos

HOMETOWN: San Francisco, Calif.

EDUCATION: Diploma, Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep (Calif.); B.A. history and political science, Syracuse University; MAT, Tufts University

YEARS AT ST. JOHN’S: 10

SUBJECT: Assistant Principal for Academics, Grades 9 & 10 and Social Studies teacher

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO TEACH FOR A LIVING?: “Originally, I wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice. My heart was wanting to work for kids who needed an advocate. Then, I reflected on what I love—history and learning—and my goal of helping children. All of my best experiences as a student were in history classes. I did a year of student teaching at Fenway High School, which was a pilot school, and that was it. Teaching found me, not the other way around. All of my friends are engineers and scientists. Out of all of my peers, I have the most fun and love my job the most. I wouldn’t be an effective administrator if it weren’t for my teaching experience at SJP. I’ve taught every level and every grade, I’m a peer with teachers here, and I have institutional knowledge that gives me a different lens as an administrator. I think that serves the students well. I love that all of our administrators also teach. It allows me to take the pulse of our classrooms. Everyone on the administrative team was a teacher first; our goals are the same, we just spend most of our day differently now.”

WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE EVERY DAY?: “I think there’s a stereotype that they keep you laughing and young, and that’s true. I like the rhythm of their day and seeing the students’ energy, because it keeps me wanting to learn. I’ll never get to the point where I’m as good as I can get, because education is constantly evolving. We’re asking our students to be lifelong learners, and you have to model that yourself. You have to show them what it’s like to be striving for excellence, always. In fact, I don’t have a choice but to improve since the school is going to improve and the students are always improving. I like the challenge of teaching and working here because everyone comes with their ‘A’ game, and I like rising to the occasion every day. I get that motivation from my colleagues and from the students as well.”

DESCRIBE A TEACHER WHO INSPIRED YOU GROWING UP: “There are two who always come to mind. My high school teacher, Mr. Sansoe. I had him for two classes. He’s so much like Dean Peter Richards here. He’s got a tough, stoic exterior, but he brought a lot of humor into the classroom and made history come alive. He was what I wanted to be. The educational philosophy I carry with me comes from my sixth grade teacher. She was kind, thoughtful and compassionate. There wasn’t a day when I didn’t feel loved by her. She was larger than life in that way. When students leave my classroom, I want to make sure they know that I believe in them and that I know they’ll be successful. It looks different for every student, but I just want to help them get there. You have to be a champion for them. I hope they feel that with me.”

WHAT EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF ST. JOHN’S INFORMS YOUR WORK WITH STUDENTS AT THE PREP?: “A bunch of different things. I’m the daughter of immigrants, so navigating the educational system was new for them. Now, here I am, a school administrator. As I said, all my friends do something different than me. All of them use other side of their brain, and that forces me to seek out diverse opinions and points of view and expertise. I’d say another thing that drives my thinking as an administrator is the lens through which I view everything: ‘How would I respond if my kid were in this situation?’”

FUN FACT: “At home, I’m kind of like an 80-year-old women. I cuddle with my dog, knit blankets, and drink decaf tea. At the same time, I’m a fan of super bad 1990s rap music. So, I’ll be there knitting and listening to Ruff Ryders, DMX, Nelly and Ja Rule. It’s a weird contrast to see someone knitting a blanket and listening to Q-Tip, Puff Daddy, Jermaine Dupri or Mase. Oh yeah, I also love 1980s dance movies.”

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