Whether he is hosting a gallery showing of youth art, spotting the child who has “disappeared” and is feeling invisible in a program, involving the neighborhood in a potluck Thansgiving dinner, or creating a building-wide underground railroad, Jose Cordero is busy making a difference in the lives of young people in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Having worked his way up from counselor-in-training to program director, Jose recognizes the power out of school time education holds to recognize and maximize the gifts and strengths all children possess. Upon joining the staff of the Good Shepherd program at PS 27 in Red Hook, Jose seized the opportunity to implement changes, restructuring groups of youth based on developmental needs rather than grade level, integrating gender-specific programming, and introducing innovative new activities to engage and retain youth.
Jose’s insistence on positive reinforcement and acknowledgement of strengths extends to program staff as well as youth, resulting in a culture of appreciation, belonging and community. Under his leadership, staff has a clear role and voice in the decision-making process, with a team of veteran staff and activity specialists working together to plan projects, special events, and address issues within the program. Each day closes with a “circle up” where staff share goals for the week, challenges and successes, and appreciation for each other.
Jose lives by the P.S. 27 school motto “we do not give up on any child.” His commitment to the positive development of youth within the program, to the professional development of his staff, and to building real and enduring connections to the community, make him a model afterschool professional and a constant inspiration to those around him.