By: Greg Diette
Poet, football coach, lawyer, mentor, and new Gilman teacher, Michael Molina already knows exactly what being at Gilman is all about, as he takes full advantage of all life has to offer. The New Orleans native first attended Xavier University of Louisiana, went on to New York University for graduate school, and finally The Yale Law School. After some time working in the legal sector, he moved to Owings Mills with his wife, who is currently Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Garrison Forest School. While in Maryland, he has spent some time running poetry-based, creative writing programs. He has also spent time working with a non-profit organization that gives young people in Baltimore much-needed mentors. He described his work as, “Two separate tracks, one in the independent school world doing some writing and one in the Baltimore public school world doing some mentorship.”
This year Mr. Molina will be teaching English 11, African-American American History, and Urban Literature. Mr. Molina has no problem teaching in an all-boys environment, as he explained, “I’ve only ever taught in coed environments, but I’ve generally connected better with the male students--basically, because I really understand what boys are going through as they try to transform themselves into men.” He also noted that in all his courses, there will be girls from from both Roland Park and Bryn Mawr. Mr. Molina will have an advisory this year, and even though he has not met them, he is excited to mentor them through high school and help themselves as men. He describes his teaching style as, “Very interactive... I want students to speak, be engaged. I do lecture only to the extent where it enhances the information students can dialogue about.”
In addition to being a great new addition to the Upper School English Department, Mr. Molina will also be helping coach Gilman’s JV football team. More specifically, he will be working as the defensive backs and receivers coach. Mr. Molina has been at football camp all preseason, but to him the camp is about so much more than just football, saying, “For the kids, it’s football camp, but it’s Gilman culture camp for me; how smart people are, how diligent people are, attention to detail is very important, and positivity, encouragement, toughness, but also picking people up when they do make mistakes.” Coach Molina also said one of the things he is most looking forward to is watching his team play games, saying, “after seeing the sausage get made, the games will be that much sweeter to watch.” Mr Molina is a dedicated coach and will be a great addition to Gilman’s football program.
Perhaps one of the most unique things about Mr. Molina is his ability to rap or as he calls it, “spoken word poetry.” Mr. Molina is a true professional when it comes to spoken poetry as he has published his well-thought out poems in a book to sell. Mr. Molina has participated in paid performances for his work. He described his reason for his writings, ”it’s not something to show off. I generally use hip-hop as a really strong power to influence the way you think.”
Mr. Molina is a well-rounded teacher and overall a great addition to the English department and the Gilman community as a whole. The juniors and seniors taking his classes this year are very fortunate to have him.