Alekzandr Hirschmann joins Atlantis after a nearly 30-year career in the corporate world. He has experience in operations, sales & marketing and management, eventually becoming CEO of a multi-million dollar manufacturing company with customers around the globe. He will lead the STEM Academy classes for 11th and 12th grade students this year. When not teaching at Atlantis, he serves as a business advisor and coaches entrepreneurs on all aspects of their businesses.
Why did you decide to start teaching at this point in your career?
Atlantis approached me with this amazing opportunity. While I am new to the academic profession, I have always seen myself as a teacher and mentor. I have always led a team, not driven a team, to achieve outcomes. Your team and your company benefits when you bring out the best in each team member. I bring this same belief to my classroom. While the class may have a finite number of students, every student has infinite potential if they believe in themselves and remain forever inquisitive.
What types of projects will your students be working on?
There will be opportunities for students to work on both individual and team projects. One of the first projects we did this year was a simple egg drop from a balcony in the school. It was remarkable how diverse the ideas were from team to team. We studied the various ideas of protecting the egg, and each one of the teams grasped onto one concept or another. Next, we’re hoping to build catapults to launch some item – perhaps water balloons – into the air and see how far we can throw it.
What do you hope your students will learn this year?
First, I want each to discover their unique gift and the self-confidence that is derived from recognizing that gift as something that makes them special. One student may draw intricate designs, while another loves to tinker and another has the gift of words. It is up to me, as their teacher, to help them realize their individual gifts. In my opinion, that is the most important lesson that my 12th graders can learn. We each have our own talent.
Second, I cannot remember a time when I was not inquisitive. The two of the most powerful words in the English language are “how?” and “why?” How did they build that? Why did they design that device that way? When you open your eyes to the world, there are a near infinite number of “how” and “why” questions around us. With each question, an idea may be discovered. With each idea, our world grows, our knowledge expands and our opportunities multiply. Ultimately, I want my students to leave with a lifetime passion for learning and be dedicated to improving themselves and improving the world around them.