Heather Cardinale

Heather Cardinale

Educational Philosophy

Heather has over 15 years professional experience working both as a formal and non-traditional educator. Her commitment to education stems from the belief that education and learning is a lifelong process and all students can become successful learners through empowering experiences. Prior to becoming a formal educator Heather’s focus for many years has been working in the field of service-learning and youth civic organizing. She has worked as a program coordinator for Civic Education Programs at the national level and in Northern Ireland. She was also a Service-Learning coordinator for the University of Minnesota. It was through her own experiences with service-learning as a student and professionally that has shaped her educational philosophy. The idea that learning needs to be connected to experiences in the community and education and the purpose of education is to connect and help us better serve our communities. When this is done she believe it invigorates and brings purpose to learning that traditional learning fails to accomplish. In addition to her work in informal education, Heather, has also worked at two other high schools teaching history and as a special education consultant for NYC Department of Education. Now that she is at City-As-School she has multiple roles including: advising, resource coordination, social studies instructor, as well as developing a service-learning curriculum that will support the schools well established internship program. When asked why she was excited to be part of the City-As community she stated “This is one of the first times as a teacher I am able to integrate all of my passions for education. Being able to work formally with students in a non-traditional and experiential setting is a dream.”


Heather is a certified Special Education teacher. She teaches the Portfolio Readiness class, is an Advisor and Resource Coordinator for the Gateway program at City-As. Currently she is working with the Brooklyn College Community Partnership (BCCP) and facilitates an internship via the NYC DOE Digital Readiness Program.

Digital Ready, an intensive professional development and technology program for young people designed to improve students’ readiness for college and careers. Digital Ready introduces strategic digital teaching tools and connects students with New York City’s vibrant technology community to help them develop the professional skills and technology competencies that equip them for success in the new digital economy through partnerships with technology and media leaders.


Heather although born in San Diego, CA spent most of her childhood in New England: Greater Boston and South-Eastern New Hampshire. She spent nearly 5 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland where she worked as a Schools Coordinator for a civic youth engagement program. In Ireland she met her husband and together they moved to NYC. Together they live in Brooklyn, NY with their young daughter.

Heather has a BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She then earned a MA in Political Theory, Culture and Identity at Queens University, Belfast Northern Ireland, focusing on schools implementation of formal citizenship curricula in Divided and Contested Societies. Once moving to New York she earned an MS in both Special Education and more recently in Educational Leadership and Administration.

When in her undergraduate studies she her most memorable class was a Political Science class called Democracy in Education. This class was transformative in many ways, it was her first service-learning class and real introduction to education as a social and political tool. Books that still continue to inspire her include Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, and she still finds herself occasion of taking out John Dewey’s Public and Its Problems to look over some of her favorite quotes. Other authors she enjoys reading during down time include: Jeffrey Eugenides, Erik Larson and Sarah Vowell.

Fun Facts
When asked what she likes to do when she is not thinking about teaching and education I Heather stated “
Random activities that fill my life include: lots of singing (preferably blues and anything by Nina Simone), learning to play the guitar (going on my 23rd year), and planning to take piano lessons this year. My husband is a visual artist so art is also embedded into my everyday life. I also love to cook and experiment in the kitchen and I have a yearly obsession of blueberry picking, making jam and canning and in the spirit of farm to table I plant a garden every summer however have not quite mastered the growing part of the project.”