Sophia Espinoza is a career educator, curriculum designer and technologist with seven years experience teaching in private and independent schools across the country as well as private tutoring. Her primary focus has been creating curriculum, technology and classroom environments that foster personalized learning. She believes strongly that 21st century learners need to develop social-emotional and metacognitive skills, alongside academics, to be happy and successful.
Sophia holds a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Art History from Northwestern University. She conducted research at Northwestern’s Reading Comprehension Lab, where she examined the influence of a reader’s prior knowledge on text comprehension. She also did psychotherapy research at the Feinberg School of Medicine where she helped develop culturally-sensitive interventions for children with severe behavioral challenges. Sophia was awarded two undergraduate research grants to fund her projects, and presented her findings at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference.
Her undergraduate work with children inspired Sophia to become a bilingual third grade educator in Chicago Public Schools though Chicago Teaching Fellows. Though she had no formal background in education, her diligence and commitment helped even the lowest performing students gain significant academic growth. She learned to support students that were not only English Language Learners, but also had neurodiverse needs. She held a variety of roles at her school including being the third grade level chairperson and head of French club.
Sophia then moved to San Francisco and joined the founding team of AltSchool, a K-8 school network and education technology company. She has worked on many teams including admissions, marketing, research and school operations. She began the AltSchool Spanish Immersion Program with the goal of creating bilingual global citizens who are socially conscious and environmentally aware. As program director she researched and defined the program’s standards, and planned all the project-based learning arcs. These were in-depth units of study that blended science, social studies, literacy and math while developing Spanish language skills. For the past two years, she has taught at the AltSchool East Village campus as a lead educator. Working with engineers and designers, she has developed digital tools that revolutionize the way teachers plan and deliver instruction.
Fueled by a passion for learning the ever-changing best practices in education, Sophia has received professional development in a wide variety of educational philosophies and curricula. Her classrooms reflect her appreciation for progressive approaches such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia. She has expertise in teaching Lucy Calkins Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop, TERC Investigations, Singapore Math, Responsive Classroom and Social Thinking. She is also trained in Orton-Gillingham, a multisensory and systematic approach to reading instruction.
In her free time, Sophia likes to do yoga, travel, cook, garden, read and learn new languages. She dabbles in many forms of art including painting, sculpture, bricolage and textiles. Her favorite place in New York City is The Noguchi Museum, where you can often find her reading and sketching the sculpture garden.