A Year of Learning NFTE, Part 2

September 5, 2012  |  17 comments

Meet Kate Materese, NFTE Program Manager. As mentioned yesterday, Kate is one of two new staff members from NFTE’s New York Metro program office who will be blogging about their experiences with NFTE this school year.

Hi everyone! My name is Kate Materese, and I’m excited to be joining NFTE as a Program Manager after five years of teaching middle school in the Bronx.

Title: Program Manager, NFTE New York Metro
Previous Experience:

  • Teach for America 2007 Corps Member
  • 6th-8th  Grade Humanities Teacher at PS/MS 29 The Melrose School from 2007-2009
  • 5th Grade English Language Arts Teacher at Bronx Preparatory Charter School from 2009-2012


  • Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Economics from the College of William and Mary
  • Master of Science in Education from PACE University
  • NYS Teaching Certificate grades K-6

Having gotten my feet wet mentoring adults at my previous school, I applied to be a Program Manager because I wanted to move into a role where I’d be able to work with both adults and children, helping to bridge the achievement gap that still plagues our nations’ schools. I first learned about NFTE through my network with Teach for America, and the more I learned about the organization, the more impressed I became. I’m astounded by the effect that NFTE’s various programs have on students in just a short period of time. In just my first week here, I’ve witnessed the results of the second annual Startup Summer, which culminated with high school students giving phenomenal business presentations to advisory panels at Ernst & Young. These young adults entered an intimidating environment with poise, confidence, and such solid preparation as to make any adult forget that they were merely teenagers. The indelible impact NFTE has made on their lives is clear.

Having background primarily as a classroom teacher, I have already been moved by two aspects of NFTE’s program that I will likely focus on in future posts.

  1. I am energized by the cross-disciplinary nature of its curriculum. Through participation in NFTE, students apply math, literacy, and engineering skills in such a tangible way that the they never lose sight of the purpose for learning—rather, as I have witness in glimpsing Startup Summer, they hunger to learn all they can.
  2. As founders and CEOs of their own companies, students take ownership not only of their own education, but also of their own lives.  NFTE helps children imagine what can be and transforms them into agents of possibility, regardless of the obstacles they face.

I am anxious to watch the specific outcomes of this program unfold firsthand.   More to come!


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