Kyle Moss ’06 had no intention of becoming an educator. He went to the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied history, but he graduated without a clear idea of what he wanted to do. He worked in the Bay Area as a curriculum editor, line cook, freelance writer and travel blogger. He also traveled widely through West Africa, spending time among Bedouin people.
“It wasn’t until I fell into a job as an after-school teacher in Oakland that I found something that I wanted to invest in,” he says. “I decided to get my credential and have since taught Elementary School students in Oakland public schools. I felt then, as I do now, that teaching hits that sweet spot for me: It always feels engaging, challenging and important.”
His students benefit from his dedication and innovation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, the Alameda County Office of Education honored Kyle with a Bridging the Distance Award for Distance Learning. He was one of only seven teachers to earn the distinction.
Kyle came to Crossroads as a sixth grader. Asked about his passions as a student, Kyle says, “My interests evolved during my time there. I was particularly inspired by Tom Laichas’ history class and Tom Kemper’s film classes.” In the extracurricular world, Kyle was the only student in his grade who played jazz and a sport (baseball). “I took both seriously,” he says, “and they’re both still important hobbies in my life.”
Crossroads has colored Kyle’s perspective of his daily work. “I had so many diverse opportunities and passions to explore in small, well-resourced classes with attentive and approachable teachers,” he says. “My subsequent career in education has really shown me what an enormous privilege that was.
“My time at Crossroads shaped some of the core values I have as an educator, like my commitment to making social justice, creativity and critical thinking explicit parts of my practice. I think it also shows up in the deep interpersonal connections I try to establish with my students.
“At the same time, I had to recognize early in my career that my role as a teacher is not to redo a more perfect version of my own education, but to reach the students in my class, including the ones with different needs and experiences than I had.”
Kyle currently teaches fourth grade at Montclair Elementary School in Oakland. “I’ve gotten to the point,” he says, “where I truly cherish working in public education and couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”