Aaron Rodriguez, Executive Director

Aaron Rodriguez

B.A. in Finance, University of Texas McCombs School of Business

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be and why? 

I think this is a trick question. We are all teachers in some way even if it is just to ourselves. I love what we are building here at Phoenix Rising; it is entrepreneurial, creative, community oriented and cutting edge – all of the areas that I enjoy and would seek in any project I am working on.

What’s your earliest memory of “teaching”?

When I was three I “taught” my mom not to be late picking me up from daycare by closing the door on her when she walked in after all of the other kids had already been picked up…

What’s your favorite thing about the subject you teach?

While I enjoy creative writing and storytelling, I love reading nonfiction books. Math, to me, is my nonfiction writing. The story is always true because while people may lie, the numbers never do. (Creative writing alert!)

Do you have any memorable teaching moments when you realized your student(s) had “gotten” it?

When I tutored middle school math while I was in college I was working with a student who seemed to have erected a mental road block taller than the Empire State Building. Even though he could get the correct answer, no matter how I tried to explain the problem he could not grasp the concept of how the answer was reached. After several similar practice problems met with consistent confusion we took a short break. When he returned I was sitting in his seat and with some uncertainty he took mine. I starting working on the next problem and intentionally took it off course. Without thinking about it he leaned in and showed me what I was doing wrong and then it clicked for him how the problem was solved. It was an awesome moment to witness a genuine ah-ha and that snapshot is still clear in my mind. That experience also showed me the importance of pausing and changing perspective.

If you were a comic book character, what would your superpower be and would you have a superhero name?

I am actually working on the ability to duplicate myself and be in two places simultaneously. I am waiting on Neil’s Duplification machine to be completed. While this may seem like an heroic feat I can assure it is more suited for the common man than one may realize. I suppose my name would be Aaron so as to not blow my disguise. I would also be named Aaron so as to not blow MY disguise.