James D’Orazio loves school’s unique atmosphere

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Nina Kaplan” align=”alignright” width=”243″]Nina Kaplan “I have traveled the country, and everywhere I have gone, people have heard of Newton North, so I feel really proud to have worked here,” said Adams housemaster James D’Orazio.[/media-credit]

“I have traveled the country, and everywhere I have gone, people have heard of Newton North, so I feel really proud to have worked here,” said Adams housemaster James D’Orazio.

by Douglas Abrams
After working at this school for 29 years, D’Orazio said he is ready to start “part B” of his life, but, if he could, he would relive all of the ups and downs of his career.
Born in Albany, New York, D’Orazio graduated from Shaler High School in 1971 and went to Boston University, where he majored in education.
In 1975, D’Orazio got his first teaching job as a substitute teacher at this school.
Then, in 1977, he got his first job as a full time teacher at Day. “I moved up to Newton North in 1983 when the ninth grade moved from the middle school to the high school,” said D’Orazio.
Throughout his career, D’Orazio said that he has been inspired by one man: Harold Qualters, a teacher who he had when he was growing up.
“I saw what a difference he made in the lives of students that he taught, and I wanted to do that too,” he said.
“Now that I think about it, he was a really great teacher because he was the kind of person that you would want to talk to.”
D’Orazio also said that he is inspired by the teachers at this school.
“What I love most about this school is the passionate teachers. At some schools, teachers do not care about the students as much as the teachers at North do,” said D’Orazio.
Furthermore, D’Orazio said that he is most proud of the overall experience of working here.
“I have traveled the country, and everywhere I have gone, people have heard of Newton North, so I feel really proud to have worked here.”
According to D’Orazio, who teaches English in addition to being a housemaster, his first day at this school was eye opening.
He was stunned by all the great teachers he saw around the school and in the English department.
English department head Melissa Dilworth has worked with D’Orazio since 1998. “He made me feel welcome immediately and offered constructive and effective advice throughout that first year. His guidance since then has been consistent. Hehas acted as an official mentor to me for the last 14 years,” said Dilworth.
Additionally, Dilworth said that D’Orazio is dedicated to his job as both a housemaster and as an English teacher.
“He has an unwavering commitment to education,” she said.
In order to make sure he does everything he can for his students, D’Orazio said, “everyday I get to school at seven in the morning to prepare for class. I am surprised by how hard the teachers here work.
“There are some real legends at this school, and I feel lucky to have been able to work with them.”
Beals House administrative assistant Cheryl Stover, who has worked with D’Orazio, said that she has great respect for him as a teacher and as a person.
“I think that he has really made a difference,” said Stover. “I feel that he is an exemplary teacher.”
Stover said that D’Orazio has many positive attributes that make him a good teacher. “He is really approachable. It makes him easy for students to talk to.”
Additionally, Stover said that D’Orazio will leave a mark on this school. “The kids he taught will be his legacy,” she said.
Lorene Shapiro, Adams house administrative assistant, has worked with D’Orazio for eight years.
Shapiro said that one of D’Orazio’s best traits is that he is an excellent problem solver.
“There was one time, on my way to school, I backed out of my garage and broke the side mirror. At school, when I told him, he got on the internet and found a replacement,” said Shapiro.
Additionally, Shapiro said that D’Orazio is an excellent housemaster because of his effective way of communicating  with students.
“He listens to them and then applies his knowledge and experience to find a solution to the situation,” said Shapiro.
“I will remember Mr. D’Orazio’s energetic spirit as he dashes around the building. Working with him has been the most pleasurable and rewarding experience because of his sense of humor and expressions of candor,” said Shapiro. “I start myday by seeing his smiling face and hearing his ‘good morning’ greeting.”
D’Orazio said that one of the highlights of his career was winning the Meserve Award in 1999, which is a prestigious award for exemplary teachers.
He said it was a “humbling experience to be in a category with such incredible teachers.”
“I really did not expect to win it. It felt great to win such an elite award,” he said.
D’Orazio said that he has learned much from teaching. “Teaching is a learning experience.
“Whenever you mess up, you do the same thing differently next time and improve.”