John Frias – Alumni Spotlight

John Frias – Alumni Spotlight


I was born and raised in New York City. I grew up in Harlem and in an era where New York City was filled with violence and drugs. My parents were from the Dominican Republic and worked hard to keep food on the table, even though they barely made ends meet. My mother put herself through night school while working at a factory and eventually became a teacher later in life.  Her work ethic was inspiring.

I went to Buffalo State College as a criminal justice major and decided to pursue a childhood dream of joining the United States Marine Corps. Towards the end of my Marine journey an old high school teacher, Mr. Williams, that I had remained in contact with asked me if I would consider going into teaching. I decided to go ahead and give this teaching career a chance. Fast forward 14 years later and it’s been the best decision I’ve made.

I’ve worked most of my career at P.S 9 in the Bronx as a 5th-grade teacher and several years as a math teacher in P.S. 155 in Queens. While at P.S. 155 my principal Mr. Jacobs took me under his wings and was the one who told me about CITE, gave me leadership opportunities at the school, and helped really start this administrative journey. I was then able to have teacher development coaching experiences and eventually given a position as a district math coach for Valley Stream 13. There the superintendent Dr. Evelyn, the principal of The Wheeler Avenue school Dr. Steele, and the assistant superintendent of curriculum Judy LaRocca supported me and poured into me and prepared me to get into this new role as an assistant principal at the Hewlett Elementary School.

What made you decide on becoming an assistant principal?

As a district math coach for Valley Stream 13, I was able to work hand in hand with the teachers and principals. These experiences left a mark with me and I recognized that the potential to directly impact student lives existed as a building administrator.

How was your experience taking Saint Rose courses?

I loved every minute of my time with CITE/St. Rose. I always tell people about the program. What I share with people is that the direct support you receive is like no other. The cohort model creates a supportive community. The design of the program helps to naturally create these strong professional networks. Lastly, the professors aren’t just sharing from what they’ve read or researched. Each professor is in the field or has been in the field so the real-life information is invaluable.

Tell us about what you’re doing now? 

Recently I was just hired as the assistant principal of Hewlett Elementary School.

Do you feel that CITE/Saint Rose prepared you for your career goals?

Without a doubt. I’ve even remained in contact with some of my cohort, professors as well as my internship coordinator, and this network of people has been able to help continue the CITE experience.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I’ll see where my journey takes me. I’m starting now as a building administrator and hope to one day become a central office administrator.

Would you recommend CITE to a friend? Please tell us why…..

I always do actually. CITE is the most authentic classroom experience I’ve ever had. The professors are or have been, in the field. Whenever they shared nuggets of information you knew that it wasn’t just coming from a book but from a tested by fire experience.

CITE is the Center for Integrated Training and Education.
For over 25 years, CITE has and continues to train TEACHERS (Early Childhood, Professional Certification, Special Ed,Grad Courses, Bilingual courses, DASA); COUNSELORS (School, Mental Health Masters, Advanced Certificate); and ADMINISTRATORS (SBL, SDL, Public Admin, Doctorate) in all five boroughs of NYC, Yonkers, Westchester, and Long Island.

CITE PD offers CTLE-approved in-school professional development tailored to your school’s needs and your vision. Info:

We now also offer an undergraduate degree completion program in psychology.