Meet Jose Vilson '00


Jose Vilson '00

The Master of Media

If Jose Vilson '00 isn't teaching Math at a middle school in Inwood, he's probably in front of his computer writing about education news on his blog or on the one he writes for The Huffington Post. Or he might be busy working on the Future of Teaching blog, which he co-edits. Or maybe gearing up to speak on a panel of educators. Or maybe pushing for his readers to ask to make a book on education reform he contributed to available to readers on their Kindle devices.

You get the point...

"You should always be one step ahead of what's happening out there," Vilson said. And he has been.

With degrees in computer science and mathematics - and springing from the New York City Teaching Fellows program - Vilson did not waste any time in putting to use perspectives on education, speaking at the 2007 Teaching Fellows induction ceremony at Lincoln Center, and promoting new education ideas using the Teacher Leader Network and the General Electric Fund.

He launched his own website, The Jose Vilson to act as a digital hub for all the varied causes he was becoming involved with, and started using Facebook to allow friends and former students to have direct, almost daily, access to whatever he happens to be working on - whether its his evaluation of state math standards, classroom management tips, or even sharing an anecdote he overheard in the hallways of his school during passing. Other have picked up on how valuable his perspective has been, and how good he's been at starting dialogue among other teachers, their advocates and policy makers. Last fall, he posted the first of what has become a regular series of blog postings on The Huffington Post, putting Vilson in front of a national audience.

In the studio for Rise Up

"My experience with education, I've found, has been different from others even within educators because of the mix of Catholic secondary education I received and the earlier public elementary schooling I received," Vilson said. "With the concurrent discussions about school reform, we need to have teachers, educators, and allies who really know what's going on within the school structure to dedicate their voices to pushing real reform. Otherwise, it gets dominated by the same people."

Vilson understands the risks of simply being labeled an "activist," especially within a large school system like New York's, but by working hands-on, he said he's aimed to express his ideas with clarity and intelligence. "I've seen too many cases where people see themslelves on the Internet doing and saying things that they wouldn't like their bosses to see. If you can put yourself out there with the proper image, then you win."

He's already made additional apperances on American Latino TV, CNN, Black Web 2.0, Electronic Village, and Common Cents / Penny Harvest, but look for him in the future.

P.S. Part of why Jose Vilson's ideas have been so quick to spread is because they're so easy to express and to pass along - this entire article was done after passing back and forth just three short Facebook messages!