Q & A: Meet Niko, the new College and Career Specialist

Centeno-Monroy, a Virginia native has spent time in Las Vegas as well as New York

Centeno-Monroy, a Virginia native has spent time in Las Vegas as well as New York

Q: How long have you been working in this field?

A: This is my 8th year in education.

Q: Where did you work previously?

A: I was a Career Coach at NoVA and prior to that was the College Access Program Manager for the Fulfillment Fund Las Vegas.

Q: Why did you choose this profession?

A: I reflected deeply on my own educational experiences as a young person in the public school system and recognized that there was a lot of work to do and many changes needed. Ultimately, I wanted to be the adult I needed when I was a child going through school.

Q: Favorite part about this field of work?

A: Seeing my students achieve greatness!

Q: One tip you want students who are applying to colleges and preparing for the future to know.

A: A lot of people do not end up in a career based on their major, or many times, we change careers very easily, so go for what truly makes you happy and you have a passion for and make the best of it. Do what’s best for you!

Q: What has your career path looked like?

A: I didn’t fully commit to education until my senior year of college. I weighed my options and was able to find a teaching position in Las Vegas and have worked in education ever since. When I am not working with students, I am working with artists of all kinds in the community, specifically in music and art.

Q: How did you end up at AHS?

A: I was recruited by our very own Principal DeRose.

Q: What are you most looking forward to experiencing here?

A: Connecting with students from my hometown area. Most of my career has been in Las Vegas so I’m really excited to get back to my hometown roots and create change here.

Q: How does technology make teaching more simple or difficult?

A: I think it’s great in that it allows us to do a lot of neat things in the classroom, as well as inspire kids to think creatively about future possibilities. Unfortunately, a lot of our technology can be really distracting and easy to fall into the rabbit hole if we aren’t aware.

Q: What is your proudest moment?

A: As an educator – I had a book banned in my classroom once and one of my classes refused to accept the ban so they stopped the class and every single student wrote letters of dissent. Personally – I’ve completed two marathons and have recorded and released a couple of mixtapes.

Q: What lasting impacts do you want to leave on the school?

A: I just hope I’m remembered as the person who helped everyone that sought my guidance and support. I am here to serve and hope to do the best job I can.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for students?

A: I hope the students I serve can recognize and tap into their limitless potential and achieve all that they want to. High school can seem so daunting and it can sometimes feel like if we don’t get it together now our futures will be a mess, but what is life if it doesn’t get a little messy? What matters is how you let the mess affect you and how you navigate it. Your lives aren’t over if you don’t have it together now, it’s only beginning, and you’ll have plenty of time to sort through the mess. Be patient, be kind to yourself, and always have faith.

Q: What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

A: I went on tour to SXSW once.

Q: Anything else you’d like the Annandale community to know about you?

A: Come meet and find me in the Career Center!