Updated: Feb 2
January 2021 Interview with John Villavicencio
Interviewed by Marco Levine
What is your role at BHS? Officially I am a TSA or Teacher on Special Assignment as Director of Student Activities
What does a typical day at BHS like for you? I started at BHS as a Math Teacher in 2004. I taught Algebra 1, 2, and Geometry in the Green Academy for a short time as well as for the general BHS population before everything changed over to exclusively taught in SLCs. I also taught one year of PE and one year of Hip Hop Studies, a course I founded in 2015. A good day is when I feel like student and club leaders have the resources and information to make successful plans. It would also feel good to have an interesting conversation with a student or staff because that kind of dialogue usually leads to an interesting and unexpected outcome.
A typical day for me at BHS involves meeting with the student leadership team representing all grades and learning communities in the morning. Maybe something we discussed will need follow-up and I help them move their cause along by speaking with other adults on campus and communicating with others. I like to walk around campus at least once a day to stumble into conversations with teacher friends or serendipitous meetups. I schedule events so that they are spread apart across the school year. I help move along an event like the Holiday Meal.
I almost always walk through the main office and the registrar's office where I may get a notice about something from admin, counselors, parent volunteers, etc..At lunch, I would either meet up with student leaders impromptu or maybe be playing music in the main courtyard.
What does a typical day look like for you during virtual learning? I took over the role of helping with the student bulletin with the two Chiefs of Publicity, Aaron R and Felix M. We create a weekly student bulletin video via email, YouTube, our leadership website, and Instagram. Although, I saw that it was important to establish an online presence through social media, the school closure hastened that approach. It is not my forte to post and promote, but something that is necessary given the time and space that our students spend online. Social media is a mandatory format for schools and they cannot rely simply on email to communicate anymore.
I also spend a lot of time supporting student clubs to encourage them to connect virtually in meetings or other activities as much as they are able to. It is important for students to build connections with each other and have outlets for their creative and expressive selves.
How do you work with parents? I usually collect inquiries or requests that cannot be addressed easily at the front desk. This could be for donations, alumni, promotions, volunteering, etc. I also field school spirit, senior information, and school event inquiries as well.
Where did you train or go to college and what did you study? I went to Lewis & Clark College (“LC”) and studied business. Honestly, it was not the most informed decision to attend a Liberal Arts school for business. I did enjoy my time at LC and took a few education classes there. I graduated from University of San Francisco with a master’s degree in education in 2004.
For specific training in student leadership and activities, I credit that mainly to being a member of the CA Directors of Activities Association. It is a phenomenal group that can really help folks be the backbone of a school. Also, I led a few global trips for Habitat for Humanity that helped me serve as a project leader. I was also a resident assistant at LC, which served as a good foundation for this position.
What are some of your hobbies?
Besides caring for our walking and talking 1-year old daughter, my hobbies include playing fantasy baseball (something I can endlessly talk about), playing basketball, and compiling end of the year music playlists.
Also, I have made many batches of cookies and muffins in the last few months. And our go to recipe has been to roast a whole chicken and then use the leftover stuff in the pot to make a rich bone broth.