Francisco J. Ocasio, a PhD student in the Teacher Education and Teacher Development program, was recently named the Holmes Scholar of the Month for January 2020 by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). Francisco’s primary doctoral research interests include the disadvantages of LGBTQ+ staff members working within schools. He is passionate about creating safe spaces for developing critical thinkers and providing opportunities for educational risks.
Francisco previously earned a Master’s degree from William Paterson University in 2017, where he was the commencement speaker for the graduate commencement ceremony. He was also a Fulbright-Hays Scholar in 2017 in Israel and received the NJ Distinguished Student Teacher State Award in 2010.
He has worked as a teacher for 11 years and is currently an English honors educator at Passaic County Technical Institute Vocational High School. Francisco supports the LGBTQ+ community within his high school and is involved with helping teachers and students with extracurricular activities via Supplemental Educational Service (SES), the Hispanic Heritage Club, and the Teacher Talent Show. He is a board member of the Friends for the Hispanic Research Institute Center, a community group that partners with the Newark Public Library to support the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center (NJHRIC) with funding.
The AACTE Holmes Program supports students who self-identify as racially and ethnically diverse and are pursuing graduate degrees in education at AACTE member institutions. Founding in 1991 for doctoral students, the Holmes Program now provides mentorship, peer support, and professional development to master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral students.