New Math Teacher: Alexa Lewandowski

Dani Soares, Staff Writer

Algebra 1A and 1B math teacher Alexa Lewandowski has always had a passion for teaching ever since she was a little girl.

“I used to play school with a black board and make believe students,” said Ms. Lewandowski.

She attended Rutgers University where she planned to be a math teacher and was majoring in education but that all changed her junior year when she switched from an education major to a pure mathematics major. Though Ms. Lewandowski was passionate about teaching, she first wanted to see the world. Changing her major changed her life course.

“I decided at some point I would go back to teaching but I wanted to see the world. I had spent my entire life in a school building and it was a very transitional moment,” said Ms. Lewandowski. “I was walking the halls and I was struggling with my dream to be a teacher and everybody’s expectation that that’s what I was going to be and I decided to drop education.”

After she had graduated from Rutgers with a B. A. in mathematics she started her career at Accenture, a global information system consulting company, where she began as a computer programmer. There she served clients like General Foods, Pier One Imports, and Foot Locker,

building computer systems or business strategies for these companies. Her job also required her to meet with clients and to attend meetings around the world. She traveled to Rome for the Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations, Belgium, Paris, Monte Carlo, London, Ireland, and Canada.

But after 20 years of working at Accenture she decided to leave and get her teaching certification.

“I never wanted to spend my entire life doing the same thing and I didn’t want to look back on my life and say the only thing I did was work at Accenture,” Ms. Lewandowski said.

She started teaching at Our Lady of Peace in New Providence, then went to Morristown to teach and in July she was hired here. Ms. Lewandowski wanted a new, different experience and wanted to teach inner city kids. She wanted another challenge.

“If I touch a kid in some way and I get him to love math, to have confidence in math, that’s all I want.”

Having three children prepared Ms. Lewandowski for the environment here.

“I have all boys, she said. “That’s why I was well prepared.”

Her youngest son recently graduated high school and is now a freshman attending Washington University in St. Louis. Another son went to college in Florida and is employed there as well. Her eldest son is attending Fordham University School of Law.

A native of Paterson, she understands where the inner city kids are coming from and the priorities they have. In the classroom her main goal is to help individual students become better in math and to build their confidence that they are good at this subject. But what she likes the most about teaching is that she is always learning.

“The kids teach me everyday. When I go home I have learned something new every single day,” she said.

The way a student approaches a math problem can be very different than how she approaches it. When she puts herself in the students’ shoes she becomes amazed at how they think differently, teaching her something new.

Ms. Lewandowski always knew she was destined to teach and was not afraid  to try a new vocation.

“I’ve learned through my life that I am not afraid of change and I learned to welcome it,” Ms. Lewandowski said.