Director of the publications program at the Modern Language Association (MLA), a membership organization for language and literature educators that advocates for the teaching and study of world languages, Milpitas High School Class of 1991 alumna Angela Gibson is a self-made literary professional passionate about her life’s work.
“I’ve had the opportunity to take on new roles and grow professionally supporting an organization that does work I care deeply about,” said the 48-year-old NYC resident with a Phd and Masters in English from the University of Rochester as well as a BA in Liberal Arts from Hampshire College.
Hired as a copy editor at the MLA in 2001, Gibson wrote her dissertation while holding the full-time position in order to live in New York City. The MLA, founded in 1883, publishes books, journals, and digital resources for teachers, students, and writers at all levels, including the MLA Handbook.
Gibson is a true product of MUSD--attending Sinnott, Zanker, Rancho and MHS, where she encountered many inspirational educators that helped nurture her interests.
“The teachers were incredibly dedicated, creating learning environments that helped students grow intellectually and develop critical thinking skills,” said Gibson, vividly recalling Jack Weinstein’s class on the Holocaust. “It encouraged students to see how people’s day-to-day decisions contributed to the genocide and to use the study of history to better understand how we can make ethical decisions in the world.”
MUSD schools left a lasting impression on Gibson, who credited their influence in why she went into teaching and work supporting teachers and students.
One of her fondest memories includes retired MHS educator Henry Robinson, who, along with a neighboring high school, helped organize a two-week summer trip to France. “Being able to put the French language skills I learned at MHS to use in a real-world context was a challenging and memorable experience.”
Gibson reconnected with Robinson, whose wife, Anne Jensen, coincidentally serves on an MLA committee to support connections between K-12 and higher education leaders.
For the future generations of MUSD students, Gibson suggests that they broaden their college search outside of California to discover schools with various curricular models, programming strengths, and learning environments.
“Even before you engage in the college search, though, embrace and cultivate your interests and strengths--but also try new things,” Gibson said. “Your career trajectory is not set in high school (or even in college), but high school does provide a foundation you will build on.”