Sonya Castellino joined Read Charlotte as Deputy Director in July 2018. Sonya is a native Charlottean, who proudly and successfully attended Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She has worked as an educator in New York City, Eastern North Carolina, and in Charlotte. She has served a variety of roles from classroom teacher to Resident Principal, since 2002. She co-founded a small high school in Manhattan, which continues to educate students today. She’s coached teachers to improve instructional practices in grades K-12, with subjects ranging from Music to Chemistry. Most recently, she was a Curriculum Coordinator for Project L.I.F.T.
Sonya holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and two master’s degrees from Columbia University, Teachers College. Sonya lives in Huntersville with her husband, Sam, their bibliophile son, Dalton, and their dog, Chai. Sonya’s grandmother taught her to read when she was three years old using McGuffey primers. Her favorite childhood books are the Babar the Elephant and Curious George series.
What have you recently learned from a student?
I have a student who doesn't care about earning prizes during tutoring, it makes me laugh that he refuses them!
What does great teaching mean to you?
Great teachers unlock students' potential by giving them opportunities to explore strengths, showing how to use those strengths, and demonstrating sound problem-solving and reflection through challenges.
What has best prepared you for the role you have now?
My mother's love, my family members' examples of hard work and the power of education. Also, my grandmother's energy in sharing a love of reading and learning, and an evolving and growing sense of humility and humor.
Which skill would you most like to master?
Saving money for a bucket-list worthy vacation.
What is your most treasured possesion?
My son Dalton, what a gift!
What do you consider your organization's greatest achievement?
Influencing system's changes in mindsets and practices and accepting changes in our approaches as well.
Who is your favorite teacher and why?
Gloria Wansley, my 6th grade teacher at Matthews Elementary, brought passion and joy about learning, inclusion, community-building, character education and recognition of students' skills to every child. She looked forward to every day with us and that energy was palpable and contagious!
What were you really into when you were a kid?
Dancing and fully enjoying music, and I still am.
Advice you would give to a young person interested in a profession in education?
Great, we need you! Roll up your sleeves and stay ready to learn! There are many ways to impact education, so apply your passions and talents to solve the problems you see.