Vanessa Marie Fernández joins Hillbrook School as Scott Center Program and Research Lead and is truly excited to become part of a community that lives and breathes the core values she holds dear in life and as an educator. Vanessa began her career as a Middle School Spanish Teacher at the School of the Future in New York City. She learned the fundamentals of collaborative, student centered, community engaged, interdisciplinary pedagogies that strive to develop and grow each student’s unique gifts and abilities. Taking these lessons with her, she embarked on an incredible journey in education that includes teaching at the High School and College levels. Driven by a passion to equip students with the knowledge, confidence, and skills that enable them to make a positive difference in society, Vanessa earned her PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures at UCLA, which led her to tenure track positions at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and at San José State University. Vanessa focused her career on creating meaningful curricular and extra curricular programs that reflect her students’ realities and allow them to explore their interests and talents while contributing to improving society. Executing on her vision, Vanessa has built community engaged teaching and research programs, such as “Reading to Play, Playing to Read” at Beechwood Elementary in Pittsburgh, PA. She firmly believes that quantifiable action through community engagement is at the core of enacting real change towards achieving a more just and equitable society. What Matters to Vanessa is finding ways to channel her passion, education, experience, and training into joyful work that has a positive impact on her community and makes the world a better place. Joining the Scott Center Team at Hillbrook School is what she is doing about it. Working with like minded souls to turn ideas into sustainable impact is Vanessa’s dream come true. Vanessa lives life to the fullest, loves her OTFRG workout community and her Peloton rides with Robin A. Her toddler inspires her to giggle, move continuously, and find the fun in everything. On weekends you can find Vanessa and her boys enjoying San José at the Farmer’s market, a coffee shop, or at a park.