Meet Overlake’s new Director of Experiential Education José González. He comes to Overlake from California where he most recently worked as an assistant professor at California State Northridge teaching recreational management and entrepreneurship. He also worked for the Sierra Club as the Risk Management and Strategy Implementation Senior Manager.
“I have found Overlake to be a very welcoming and caring community,” González says. Starting at Overlake in October, González jumped right in spending time getting to know the community. He has already experienced his first Service Day and has led an outdoor ed excursion with students to Little Si.
“I had a great hiking trip to Mt. Little Si with 6th graders! The students took turns leading portions of the hike and Connor Middleton, MS Social Studies teacher taught 'Leave No Trace' principles at the summit. We even played cards together on the way down,” González says.
Over his 30 year career in outdoor education González has logged more than 700 days of experience in the field. After that long you might wonder what he is excited to learn at Overlake.
“At Overlake I will get to see the students in fifth grade, sixth grade, all the way to graduation, and see their development throughout the years. To see the evolution and growth of the students, that’s the main reason I am excited to be here,” he says.
His passion for the outdoors was sparked when he was just 14 years old and went on his first backpacking trip with the Boy Scouts. On all his trips he always tries to keep a fresh perspective and put himself in the mind of a beginner. “I learn so much from my students every time I go out,” González says. “They teach me how to be more compassionate, how to have resilience and patience. I stay curious and keep my ‘beginner hat’ on and try to put myself in the place of a novice in the outdoors.”
As students know, Project Week is already on everyone’s mind having just submitted their preferences earlier this week. González and his team are excited to bring back international trips for the first time since the pandemic. Students will be going to Spain, France, and Italy in addition to many amazing local projects. As Project Week placements come out in the next few weeks, families are encouraged to be excited about whichever project they are placed in. Many alums share that Project Weeks were some of their fondest Overlake memories.