An Interview With Dr. Shaw



We had the fortunate opportunity to interview one of STAC’s favorite early childhood education professors!

Q: When did you start working at STAC, and what is the best part about your job?

A: I began teaching at STAC in 1995 after teaching in the Bronx for 27 years. I had been a

classroom teacher with all grades 1-6, a reading specialist, and then a literacy coach who

taught teachers. The best part of my job is being passionate so I can motivate and engage

students and support their learning in every way possible.

Q: What was your favorite and least favorite class in college?

A: My favorite class at Harpur College, now Binghamton University, was a political science

class I took with a Visiting Professor from the University of Minnesota. His name was

Mulford Q. Sibley and he had written a number of books on nonviolence and passive

resistance. He became a leader of faculty against the Vietnam War. I was the student

government president and I led students against the Vietnam War, so we worked closely

together. He asked the question that changed my life: What do you want to do with the

rest of your life that will make a difference in the world? That was when I decided to

become a teacher.

My least favorite class was Organic Chemistry. I went to college thinking that I would

become a medical doctor, but this was the only class I ever failed. In fact, the professor

failed about 80% of us. It was the last science class I ever took.

Q: Favorite college memory?

A: My favorite college memory is leading students in a huge march against the Vietnam War

in Washington. We felt we were changing the country. I also have a very moving

memory of giving a speech as student government president the day after Dr. M

Martin Luther king Jr. died.

Q: First job?

A: My first job was teaching fifth grade in the Bronx. I had found my “calling.” I had many

struggling readers and writers who hated school and I was able to change their lives. I

still hear from a few of them.

Q: You just sold your tech start up for 10 million dollars! What’s the first thing you do with the money?

A:  Ten million dollars? WOW! Truthfully, I would start a school and hire my graduates

from our MSEd. Literacy Program. I know it would become a national model for

teaching and learning.

Q: Out of all the classes you teach, do you have a favorite?

A: I really love every class I teach. I mean it.

Q: If someone made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you?

A:  Probably George Clooney. I think he would be able to represent my passion.

Q: Any hobbies that people don’t know you have?

A: I used to be a photographer who showed my work in galleries and museums. All my

work in pre-digital times was in black and white, and I had own darkroom to process

film. My photographic heroes were W. Eugene Smith, a photographer for Life

Magazine, and Ansel Adams. I also am a morning jogger who has completed four New

York City marathons.

Q: If you were a candy, what candy would you be?

A:  Sorry, I wouldn’t be any candy. I only eat healthy foods. Most of my diet is vegetarian,

so I would be any vegetable.

Q:  Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A: I come back to Mulford Q. Sibley’ question: What do you want to do with the rest of

your life that will make a difference in the world? That was his advice in the form of a

question. I have never looked back. Cheers.

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