Camilla Bianchi ‘19
Kinga Novak is among the numerous teachers that have joined BHSEC this year. She teaches 10th grade global history and Year 1 Spanish. Professor Novak was born in New York City where she lived until she moved to upstate New York, where she grew up. While Professor Novak was living upstate, she moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for two years, from the ages of 10 to 13. Professor Novak attended college in Chicago for one year, where she studied art and history. Unfortunately, this program did not include Latin America history, which she was very interested in learning about. After completing one year of studies in Chicago, Professor Novak moved to Seattle where she attended Washington University, double-majoring in history and art and minoring in fine arts. When she was in the college honors program at the University of Washington, a requirement for the program was to take a seminar class, which she found interesting and very challenging. This seminar class contributed to her later decision to become a teacher.
After having completed her studies at the University of Washington, Professor Novak moved back to New York City, where she received her master’s degree from NYU in Latin American History. Professor Novak had always been fascinated by churches and the religious aspects of Latin American history. She knew that beautiful ancient churches were in terrible conditions due to the shortage of funds provided by the government to preserve these buildings. Therefore, after completing her studies at NYU, she received a grant travel to Oaxaca, Mexico to work on restoring a 16th century monastery. After working on restoring the monastery, Novak worked with the government and with a museum on further restorations in Mexico City. Novak then moved back to New York for a brief period of time, later moving to California to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied Latin American history. During her time at Berkeley, Novak was able to travel back and forth to Mexico in order to conduct research. It was at Berkeley that Novak made the decision to become a teacher.
As a graduate student, Novak was required to teach a class on colonial American history, she “enjoyed it,” and “fell into it [teaching] right away.” After completing her studies at Berkeley, Novak decided to remain at the University to teach for two years. After two years of teaching there, she moved to Los Angles in order to organize exhibitions of Mexican paintings in a museum. After working in Los Angeles, Novak received a job offer from BHSEC, and she decided to move to New York. Novak took the job at BHSEC because she had heard that it was an “exceptional school,” and because her entire family was living in New York. She was not worried about teaching at high school being a challenge because she knew that BHSEC was different. She is “pleasantly surprised with the students” at BHSEC, she says that they are respectful and great to work with. During her spare time, Novak likes to spend time with her dog (who she adopted during her travels to Mexico), read, cook, and travel. She has traveled to numerous places including Peru, Bolivia, Spain, France, Northern Italy, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and London. We hope that Professor Novak has a great first year with us at BHSEC, and we wish her luck!