Throughout the year, the Names of North Colonie series will highlight those who help our students reach their full potential. It is a chance for the North Colonie community to get to know our teachers, administrators, and staff members on a more personal level.
Bianca Stinney is in her first year as a first grade teacher at Loudonville Elementary. Bianca, an Albany resident, studied theatre and elementary education at Barnard College of Columbia University. In graduate school, she studied special education and literacy at University at Albany. Prior to coming to North Colonie, Bianca worked as a fourth grade teacher at Henry Johnson Charter School in Albany. Learn more about Bianca below.
What do you like most about working in North Colonie?
I appreciate how the district prioritizes the students. The superintendent and my principal (Mrs. North) have emphasized the importance of teaching the whole child, which has been a significant part of my teaching philosophy. Children are not a monolith and should not be treated as such. During the past few months, I have felt empowered to use my classroom as a safe space to encourage my students to learn about themselves and others.
What do you like about teaching?
I enjoy watching my students learn more about each other and the world around them. My favorite part of our day is when we are able to talk about our differences and celebrate how unique each of us are. As they learn how to form their own opinions, they are learning to become more comfortable using their voice. Children have a voice and should be heard. I am honored to be a part a community of professionals that nurtures this stage of their development.
What made you want to become a teacher?
My mother worked for Albany County Head Start for 18 years. Throughout her time there she served as a teaching assistant and then a family support advocate. I grew up watching how she carefully considered the needs of the whole child (social emotional, academic, physical, etc.). In addition to observing my mother professionally, I was privileged to consistently receive her wisdom regarding the importance of education. She told me that education is the one thing that no one can take from me. In college, I started to understand her message and knew that I wanted to take part in raising the next generation of learners.
If you could teach a different subject area, what would it be and why?
I would teach creative writing! Writing is my favorite subject to teach because it provides so many opportunities for my students to unlock potential and imagination. It also provides the students with a chance to be themselves unapologetically.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you “grew up?”
At first, I wanted to be a research scientist so that I could discover the cure for cancer and AIDS. But after taking chemistry in high school, I was discouraged. I then decided to become a creative play therapist.
What is the most unusual job you’ve ever had?
I was a surgical assistant for an oral surgeon. I started off as a front desk attendant and after some time they allowed me to receive onsite training to become a surgical assistant. I learned so many valuable lessons while in this position, including the importance of maintaining my oral hygiene.
What would your students be surprised to know about you?
My students would be surprised to know that I am terrible at playing games. I rarely win, but I always have fun.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Before COVID-19, I would engage in as much theatre as possible. I enjoy participating in readings of new plays with Capital Repertory Theatre. I am not ashamed to say that I also engage in a lot of solo dance parties at home. I am an only child so I’ve learned how to entertain myself.
What are the top three items on your “bucket list?”
- I want to perform on Broadway!
- I would like to visit the slave ports in West Africa.
- I MUST visit Brazil for Carnival!
What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?
- I am currently re-reading and studying the book of Esther in the Bible.
- I am always listening to 90’s R & B music.
- A couple of my students are huge fans of Star Wars so I am trying to catch up on their recommendations.
What are your favorite sports teams?
If you asked me about my favorite musicals, I could answer that easily. Sports have never really been my forte. Two years in a row in high school, I joined the track team only to quit two weeks in because the season overlapped with rehearsal for the school musical.
What is some advice you would you give your students?
Sharing a little bit of love can make a big difference.