Tomas Baez graduated from Williams College with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2003. Determined to share his college experience with inner-city youth, he became a social studies teacher through the New York City Teaching Fellowship program. Tomas’s unequivocal mission was to inspire kids from disadvantaged neighborhoods to embrace the limitless opportunities offered by education regardless of the overwhelming negative circumstances that unfairly plague youth in their communities.
As an educator, Tomas matured professionally to seek ways to further engage his students and impact their futures. He started an Advanced Placement World History program at two separate public high schools. He infused multiculturalism and experiential learning into a New York State social studies curriculum that is mostly Eurocentric and rote-based. Tomas also became a social studies department chair, developing innovative curricula, mentoring younger teachers, and fostering a culture where department members shared best practices and resources. Tomas has also served as a dean of students, through which he reinvigorated school culture, developed a system to improve students’ social skills, and helped teachers strengthen their classroom management strategies.
Born to monolingual Dominican parents but raised in the pre-dominantly African-American neighborhood of West Harlem, Tomas credits his personal and academic achievements to mentoring and community outreach programs. In 2005, motivated by his passion for community engagement, Tomas co-founded and directed Baseline NYC, a college-preparatory, basketball program for female student-athletes. This program has helped more than 45 students gain college admissions and secure athletic scholarships.
As a National Urban Fellow, Tomas is attaining a broad and transferable education through his studies at Baruch College and mentorship placement at the New York State Health Foundation. He is committed to reforming current education practices in urban areas, creating opportunities for success for youth, and improving health outcomes for people in underserved communities.