New Faculty Spotlight: Josh Weinstein, Middle and Upper School History Teacher

Moorestown Friends welcomes Josh Weinstein as a Middle and Upper School History Teacher. This year, he will teach eighth and ninth grade history, serve as a Middle School advisor, and coach the Middle School Boys “B” soccer team.

Josh graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in political science. Following graduation, he worked for one year at the Churchill School, an independent K-12 school for students with language-based learning disabilities, in New York City. He thought he lacked the real-world experience to be a teacher, but his experience sparked his interest in education law issues, so he headed back to school to earn a J.D. at the University of Miami Law School. For a few years, he worked as a law clerk for the Connecticut and New York state courts, but realized that what he really wanted to do was teach. Josh then earned his master’s in education from the Lesley University School of Education in Cambridge, MA. After moving to Philadelphia, his wife’s hometown, he began working as a middle school history and instructional leader at Freedom Prep Charter School in Camden. Concurrent with his teaching, Josh received his Principal’s Certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in 2013. He then taught writing and history at one of the Mastery Charter Schools in West Philadelphia.

Many of Josh’s own teachers inspired him to enter the field.

“The teachers I loved were the ones who tried to get to know me as a person, to build a relationship with me,” said Josh. “Every child deserves to know their value, and the value of their perseverance. My former principal at Freedom Prep was another great influence — she taught me how to teach, how to prepare lessons, command a class, work with parents, and really connect with my students.”

Although his seven years of experience working in urban schools showed him the daunting obstacles that may stand in the way of students’ learning, Josh was able to develop his own teaching style and build a classroom of high expectations and exceedingly high academic rigor.

“I learned the universal keys in creating a supportive learning environment are building character, pushing independent thought, and teaching students the importance of failure as a tool for coping and moving forward,” said Josh. “I have found these values hold whether your students hail from well-off areas, or from lesser means.”

For the upcoming year at MFS, Josh hopes to contribute to and learn from the community, both in and out of the classroom.

“I am most looking forward to getting to know the Quaker traditions, and becoming part of the Moorestown community,” said Josh. “I can’t wait to get to know my students better. They already impress me with their love of learning and their kindness, towards each other and their teachers. I love the small class sizes, which allow me to connect more wholly with my students. It’s like being on a sports team of your intellect, with everyone working together and encouraging each other to get to a point of understanding. I am excited to teach both in the classroom and on the soccer field, and to be surrounded by inspirational and supportive colleagues and administration.”

The congeniality, inclusive learning style, and food at MFS impressed Josh so much upon his first visit to the school, he recalled coming home and telling his wife, “this is it!”

Josh considers his wife, Hillary, one of his heroes (alongside Bruce Springsteen, “the voice of the underdog and the working class”) and loves spending time with her, their two boys, 3-year-old Eli and 1-year-old Noah, and their dog, Rafaela Nadal Weinstein. He loves watching and playing sports of all kinds, especially tennis, football, and basketball. Now, as a proud MFS soccer coach, he has added soccer to his “most frequently watched” list. He originally hails from New Haven, CT and was a NY Giants fan, but, on his wife’s insistence to become a united family, Josh now wholeheartedly roots for the Eagles. Josh also loves to read books and watch movies about the underdog (i.e. Rudy, Remember the Titans, Braveheart, and Lord of the Rings — “Frodo Baggins was the original underdog”).