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Q & A with Edwin Diaz, Superintendent in Residence at BCA Architects

By April 1, 2014 January 28th, 2020 No Comments

1)    “Superintendent in Residence” is not a term commonly heard in the world of architecture. Can you give us some insight into what your role is at BCA?

After I retired as a Superintendent, I couldn’t completely give up my love of education and found the perfect fit for me at BCA Architects.

Currently, I work as a part-time consultant at BCA on a variety of projects, including serving as the head of BCA’s partnership with Pivot Learning Partners Executive Leadership Center (ELC) program.  My job is to promote the role of technology and flexibility in the classroom. I also consulted on the design of BCA’s 21st Century Classroom Demonstration space.

I also worked closely with BCA’s Devorah Merling on the four-part series she led about classroom adaption in preparation for the transition to the Common Core curriculum.

2)    Since you started off as a teacher, of course we have to ask what your favorite subject was in school. And your least favorite subject?

I’m not sure if I could pinpoint one favorite subject but I do have a favorite class, which was a psychology class in high school. I loved the content – it intrigued me and challenged me to look beyond the perimeters of my own thoughts. But what really set this class apart from any I had taken before was the teacher. He knew how to tailor his lessons for each individual student, which is something we are doing at BCA when we help bring school districts into 21st century education. He became a mentor for me throughout my career and after taking that course; I connected with school in much deeper way. In fact, I ended up receiving a BA in psychology during my collegiate years.

I wouldn’t say I had a least favorite subject in school but I definitely felt the least adequate in art class. Perhaps now that I am surrounded by extremely creative and skilled designers at BCA some of their “artistic” talents will rub off on me!

3)    Favorite Quote by a Teacher or an Architect/Designer?

It is easy for me to share my favorite quote because I see it every day on my office wall and strive to live by it. The quote was said by a man name Ronald Edmonds, an educator and author who fostered the notion of universal, free, non-sectarian public education. When I first became an administrator, I read a lot of his research.  The quote is as follows:

“We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us.  We already know more than we need to do that. Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far.”

4)    Most rewarding career moment to date?

It is tough to pick one rewarding career moment because truthfully being an educator is such a rewarding career. That being said, I have a couple moments that stand out.

One such moment was when I was selected to go to South Africa and work with the South African Education Department.  It was very inspiring to see a group of educators facing insurmountable odds. The way they approached their job with rigor ever day was so inspiring to see and only furthered my own motivation to change lives as an educator.

Another position that was extremely rewarding was when I was the principal at a continuation school. I worked with kids who were having difficulty in school and helped them turn their lives around through education and support. Some of them had not expected to graduate yet we helped get them to that point. That immediate gratification of knowing your work has paid off is extremely fulfilling.

5)    When you are not working hard in the office, what is your favorite thing to do?

Since I am retired, one could say I don’t work hard in the office any more – Kidding!

Most likely you would find me spending time with my grandkids. I have a three-year-old granddaughter and a three-month-old grandson. I spend several days a week with them. Family and exercise is extremely important to me. We spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking and taking family trips. We also love to travel. Two places we visit every year as a family are Hawaii and Lake Tahoe.

6)    Fun fact no one knows about you?

I think what people would be surprised to hear was that I was a very shy person growing up. I had a very hard time speaking in front of large groups. I overcame that fear through my work as an educator and as a leader for my community.