Hi! I’m Andrea Mystrena and I’ve been proudly teaching at Northern since I graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2006. I’m lucky to have taught a diverse scope of classes in the past decade. I began here as an English teacher and enjoyed reading and analyzing world literature with twelfth graders for several years. In 2008, I formed a family with a small group of English Language Learners from Mexico, Turkey, Ecuador, India, and China; and for three years we grew and shared in each other’s cultures. In 2010 I was invited to develop the Gifted & Talented program and since then I have been privileged to learn side by side with brilliant young adults every day.
Curiosity and autonomy are at the heart of the Gifted & Talented program. We learn about everything from civics and ethics to philosophy and current events, always with a focus on empathy and compassion, and how we see ourselves in the world. The foundation of the program is the Passion Project, a semester-long independent venture in which students dive into something that excites them. Passion Projects run the gamut in topics from building a chess robot to learning American Sign Language. Recent projects involved conducting research on the brain and psychology; learning advanced math; and experimenting with photography, art, music, filmmaking, poetry, and fashion design.
My educational philosophy is simple: do whatever is best for our children. My students and I work hard to achieve a comfortable and safe classroom where all students have an equal voice.
I am the advisor of the GSA (Gender & Sexuality Alliance) and a member of the Blue and Grey Night organizing committee. These roles allow me to see students in a different light and help them flourish outside of the classroom.
Please follow @nbgifted and @nbcgsa on twitter for frequent photos and updates.