Figueroa-Ortiz Leaves Trinity to Pursue Career in Brazil


Anna Miliotes

Mr. Figueroa-Oritz teaches Honors Government, World Religions, and Honors World History 9 and 10. He will be departing from Trinity after one year of working here.

David Bryskin, Social Media Editor

   After his first year at Trinity, social science teacher David Figueroa-Ortiz is leaving Trinity to pursue a career at the School of Nations in Brazil. As academic director, Figueroa-Ortiz will be overseeing the professional development of faculty, supervising the curriculum, and enforcing teaching and learning standards. 

   “Next year, I won’t be teaching, I’ll be running academic development,” Figueroa-Ortiz said, “I guess I’ll be teaching teachers.” 

   His move to Brazil comes right on the heels of his move to Orlando. On top of this, Figueroa Ortiz’s bags didn’t arrive from New Jersey until three months later than the expected date, and now he’s packing up again. 

   “It’s just been so much of a whirlwind moving here, getting to know the area, and I wasn’t expecting this opportunity to open up in Brazil,” Figueroa-Ortiz said, “So, as soon as I got my move and finished buying stuff, I had to start unloading and selling stuff.” 

   However, all his life Figueroa-Ortiz has moved around. He grew up in Puerto Rico, where he went from kindergarten through twelfth grade at a Catholic Parochial School. Then, he got his undergraduate degree at Princeton followed by Law School at Columbia, and after a M.A. in Education from New York University. 

   Next, he taught at a New Jersey boarding school, which is where Figueroa-Ortiz started using experiential education. He describes experiential learning as learning by trying and experiencing, and had taken his New Jersey students to Russia, Bolivia, and Brazil. Experiential learning ties together Figueroa-Ortiz’s love for travel with his love for history. 

   “I can tell you about the architecture of the place, but then you see it, you feel it, you walk through the rooms,” Said Figueroa-Ortiz, “The idea is that it generates some experience, a kind of deeper learning and deeper insight.”

   However, even within the classroom, his favorite part of teaching is helping his students reach a deeper understanding of topics, and in turn help them get more out of the class

   “I think of a teacher as a coach, so my job is to help you achieve the best output and the best performance that you can achieve,” said Figueroa-Ortiz. 

   And, as a last word of advice, Figueroa-Ortiz wants to remind his students that they not only will, but should disagree and consider competing perspectives. 

   “Remember that reasonable people can reasonably disagree.” Figueroa-Ortiz said, “Meeting someone with whom you disagree can be the best gift, because that person hopefully will challenge the way you think… So challenge yourself and challenge others, reasonably, respectfully, lovingly, but don’t get complacent.”