One of Camille Dominguez’s earliest and most enduring memories of Bernard Zell comes from her job interview.
Often a setting rife with formalities and pleasantries, to this day, Camille remembers a heated conversation with her future employer that quickly departed with decorum and instead delved deep into educational philosophies and pedagogy. Yes, there was disagreement, but there was respect on both sides of the table and a clear willingness by all parties to engage in meaningful dialogue about how to create an educational experience that put students first.
It was after that conversation Camille knew she wanted to make Bernard Zell her next professional home. Today, she serves as the Middle School Math Instructional Leader and is currently in her fourth year of teaching at Bernard Zell.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Camille has wanted to teach since age four and never considered pursuing anything else. As an undergrad at Massachusetts' Mount Holyoke College, she majored in math and minored in chemistry and after teaching for a few years in New Mexico, made a move to Chicago where she began a Masters program in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Upon completing her degree she took a job teaching Math at Winnetka’s North Shore Country Day before eventually coming to the Bernard Zell community.
Throughout her tenure at BZ, Camille has seen changes at the school and has helped to bring energy and camaraderie to the Middle School Math Department. That team spirit has been crucial in helping to make possible the quick transition from traditional, in-person instruction, to the new reality of distance learning.
While teaching remotely—at least for the time being—can present a host of challenges, Camille feels confident that one of the positives it’s bringing to our community is the deepening of our collective empathy. In what’s felt like the blink of an eye, each of our designated roles has been jumbled. Teachers are teaching while at home, simultaneously parenting; parents are getting a closer glimpse into their children’s classes, while also having to take on some of the teaching responsibilities. All of us are concerned for our kids, our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors. No matter who we are, Camille recognizes that we’re all facing the same set of circumstances, but as a school community, we’re all in this together.
If that initial interview experience indicated anything, it was that Bernard Zell cares deeply about its work of educating the next generation of Jewish leaders. It’s a mission that Camille takes seriously and one, she believes, will help us get through our current moment and emerge stronger on the other side.