One could compare an educator to an architect who not only uses their training, tools, and techniques, but also reinforces their work with encouragement and inspiration to progressively build and strengthen a child from the ground up. graduation and beyond.
This is the case of Julio Morales, an educator who has dedicated his life to the field of public education for nearly twenty years, fifteen of which have been devoted to schools in Hyde County.
Julio is not only a strong advocate for improving education at the district, regional and state levels, but he is also committed to improving life in Hyde County.
Born and raised in Maracay, Venezuela, more than two thousand miles from his home in Engelhard, Julio became interested in education from the age of about eight.
His mother, Adolfina Isabel Quintero de Morales, currently principal and high school biology teacher at Unidad Educativa Padre Domingo Segado in San Joaquin, Edo. Caraboba, inspired him to pursue his career in teaching.
“I would play teacher. My mother brought me scraps of chalk and bought me a little blackboard which she hung up in my room. I was teaching a whole class and managing discipline with my siblings and/or the toys I had lined up on the floor,” Julio recalls. “I don’t remember ever wanting to be anything else growing up.”
After graduating from high school at the Unidad Educativa Padre Domingo Segado in 1995, Julio began his journey in education by alternating his undergraduate and graduate courses between Venezuela and the United States.
“I took basic and advanced English classes at a language academy in Valencia, Venezuela, and shortly after finishing their classes, I started working for them as a language instructor. English from 1997 to 2002,” he said.
In 2003, he obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Carabobo in Valencia, Venezuela, with a Bachelor’s degree in Education Teaching (BA equivalent) with a major in English. Then, in 2011, Julio earned his Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Greensboro College.
When Julio came to Hyde County Schools in 2007, he first worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Mattamuskeet Elementary School.
However, due to a need arising in the school district due to downsizing, he began teaching Spanish at Mattamuskeet Early College High School.
“The superintendent, at the time, was informed that I also had a certification in teaching Spanish in my license. He asked me to step in to provide high quality face-to-face lessons for our students,” Julio explained.
In addition to teaching ESL and Spanish to children from K-12, Julio has also worked as a substitute bus driver. Since 2017, he has worked as an ESL/Spanish instructor for Beaufort County Community College, teaching adults.
In 2009, he established the Mattamuskeet Campus Multicultural Club, which not only allows students to experience different cultures by participating in cultural and academic activities, but also to discover opportunities for leadership development.
Currently, Julio is the Public Information Officer for Hyde County Schools and teaches part-time English as a Second Language.
Julio is a caring, enthusiastic and dedicated educator and community member who puts the best interests of others at the forefront of the work he engages in.
“I love having this incredible task of shaping minds for the future. Our work has always been so noble and important to society at large. That one goal fuels my love for the pitch,” Julio said.
“My passion, although it has always been linked to public education, has evolved somewhat over the years,” added Julio. “Initially, I wanted to grow the students in my class and be proficient in English and/or Spanish, but that shifted its focus somewhat to education policy and advocacy at the district, state, and provincial levels. State and federal.
“Working with my English language learning students is always my primary fuel for the work I do, but after learning and realizing that crucial decisions about public schools, from funding to curriculum to testing and resources, actually come from individuals who may not be connected or have any experience in education has really changed the way I spend my time advocating for my students and public schools through various professional platforms,” he added.
Apart from his affiliation with Hyde County Schools, Julio is a member of a number of professional organizations in which he not only advocates for the betterment of public education, but also for the betterment of the county community. of Hyde.
He is a member of North Carolina Governor Cooper’s Teacher Advisory Committee and Chairman of the Hyde County Children Center Board of Trustees.
He was a member of the ESL Consortium in which Hyde County Schools is one of fourteen counties in eastern North Carolina advocating for funds, programs, and resources for ESL programs.
Since 2004, he has also been a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators.
“With this organization, I have not only been a member, but a local, regional and national officer during my years of membership,” Julio said. “I took a hiatus from membership last year, but am coming right back as I long for the state office to continue to champion public schools in North Carolina. I also served as a national level officer representing North Carolina to the National Education Association at its headquarters in Washington, DC.
Additionally, Julio serves the Hyde County community in various roles with the following organizations: North Carolina Community Foundation – Hyde County Affiliate – Board of Directors, Member; Hyde County Transit Board of Directors, Vice-Chairman; Hyde County Hotline Board, Chairman; Ocracoke Health Center/Engelhard Medical Center Board of Directors, Treasurer; Hyde County Department of Social Services – Board of Trustees, Member; NC State Employees’ Credit Union Board of Directors – Swan Quarter Advisory Board, Member; and member of the 4-H Advisory Committee.
Educational and community involvement is important to Julio in which he has the opportunity to serve everyone.
“As I began to live in Hyde County and learn more about its community, its students, its families and its special nuances, I realized that the county was extremely rich in size and natural resources, but also very devoid of resources and support for its citizens,” Julio said. .
“Although there have always been local organizations trying to fill this void, I have noticed that it has been difficult to find citizens willing to devote time to helping these organizations, and I have also noticed a lack of representation of the Hispanic community and a dire need to reach out to them and their special needs,” he said. “As a result, I started jumping at opportunities to join some of the organizations I serve currently and others I have been invited to participate because they have seen my work and my contributions to others.”
In his spare time, Julio is passionate about activities that promote personal and social well-being.
“I’m obsessed with days at the beach. I love going to the movies, traveling, going to musicals and concerts, and hosting or going to parties with close friends,” Julio said.
Additionally, he is an independent contractor with his company, DJ JM, DJing not only pro bono for school events on the mainland and Ocracoke Island, but also other private gigs in North Carolina and around the world. other states.
In collaborating with others to share ideas and solve problems, Julio not only paves an easier path for educators and leaders, but he advocates for everyone to learn and live better.
Julio is a credit to himself, to Hyde County schools and to the Hyde County community. Julio Morales is truly a treasure.
Sandy Carawan is an English teacher at Mattamuskeet Early College High School in Swan Quarter and a longtime contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.