Jericho Welcomes Dr. Artiles
By LAUREN GOLDSTEIN and SABRINA BERMAN
At the start of the 2013-2014 school year, Jericho High School welcomed its new Assistant Principal, Dr. Dagoberto Artiles. A friendly man with a fascinating accent, Dr. Artiles is a man students are eager to get to know.
Born to a Dominican mother and a Cuban father, Dr. Artiles was raised in the Dominican Republic until the age of 14, when he moved to the United States. He arrived knowing no English. “Spanish is my first language, so that’s where the accent comes from,” he said. Artiles enrolled in a bilingual program at a New York City junior high school and simply “had to survive,” he said. “It is sink or swim. Either you pick it up as soon as possible, or you just don’t make it.”
In New York, Artiles attended a vocational high school. After graduating, he received his airplane mechanic certification and began to work at Tower Air, where he stayed for only a few months before realizing the job was not for him. “People see me walking around, and they would never think that I’m actually an airplane mechanic,” Artiles said. “They wonder how I got from an airplane mechanic to here.”
He then decided to go to college to become a doctor. However, he changed his mind while in the second year of his pre-med track and decided to become a history teacher. “In the end, I think you always find your niche and who you are,” Dr. Artiles said of the experience. “You just really want to report to work every day and be happy to be there, and I’m so happy to be here every day.”
Dr. Artiles taught social studies for four years and served as assistant principal in the North Rockland Central School District. He then moved on to spend three years as principal of the College Preparatory Academy for Math and Science in the Hempstead School District. There, Artiles witnessed students experiencing hardships far more severe than most Jericho students could imagine.
“In Hempstead, the kids have to go through extremely disturbing things. There is no busing, so they have to walk. There are certain neighborhoods that they cannot walk through because of gangs. By the time they get to school, they are already stressed,” he said, “Here, you have the opportunity to put all of your energy into educating yourselves.” However, he noticed that in both schools, students highly value their abilities to have a “voice” in their school.
At Jericho, Artiles has been known to sit in on classroom discussions or join students at their lunch tables so that students see him as more of an approachable peer than an intimidating administrator. “I am not something that has been created in a laboratory,” he said. Rather, he wants students to see that he is “just a person.” He feels strongly about integrating himself into students’ lives and activities, as he has “no other interest but to see students grow and learn,” a task he sees as easy due to the district’s welcoming nature.
Artiles looks forward to participating in spirit events at Jericho, such as Homecoming and pep rallies. In addition, he is excited for senior prom, and would like to “make this a year that the seniors will remember and a year that the juniors are dying to get to.”
Look for Dr. Artiles in the cafeteria getting to know students, greeting people in the hallways and upon their entry into the building in the morning, cheering on student athletes at championship games, or directing human traffic in the “T” between classes. Or, stop by his office to say hello and introduce yourself.