Heriberto "Eddy" Cordero '04, MAT '05, was not a serious high school student, but the bright, self-described class joker always managed to learn enough to get good grades. He landed in the top 10 percent of his high school class and received Quinnipiac's BRAMS Scholarship, which paid for his undergraduate tuition.
Despite its bucolic landscape-a contrast to the New Haven neighborhood where he grew up-his first semester at Quinnipiac was no walk in the park. He bombed the first test in every class.
"I thought I was ready," says Cordero. He quickly concluded, "If this is what I honestly want to do for the rest of my life, then man, I need to learn this. I'm going to be teaching it."
After finding better ways to study, he had no problem earning a bachelor's degree in science and a master's in teaching from Quinnipiac, and later a sixth-year certificate from Southern Connecticut State University.
Now a vice principal at Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven, Cordero keeps that first lesson in mind as he builds partnerships with universities to give his students college experience while still in high school. His goal is to help them make a smoother, more successful transition. In 2012, he collaborated with QU Professor Gloria Holmes, his former mentor, to have his students take courses at Quinnipiac through the School of Education's Partnership for Accelerated Learning.
"If you can put them in a college class, you can tell them, 'This is what we've been trying to get you ready for. Yes, you're a top-level student here in high school, but now you're going to be sitting in this rigorous and demanding class with other top students,'" says Cordero.
The School of Education started the Partnership for Accelerated Learning in 2008, working with New Haven Academy, and has expanded to include Career High School. Students can take up to four courses for free and earn credit that will count toward high school and college requirements.
"Quinnipiac had many resources and people I could talk to about the class, and even about my homework," says Maissane Taroua. "The professor and the other students were so nice. I liked the class so much."
Cordero enjoyed teaching so much, he spent many more than his required 20 observational hours at Career High School. With the shortage of teachers in science, he was hired to teach full time at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven during his student-teaching year but stayed for five years until returning to Career for his current position.
From his first year of teaching, he knew he wanted to become an administrator. "I realized I could only have so much of an impact within the four walls of my classroom. That is my passion: trying to reach kids," he says.