Meet Alicia, the Teacher Behind “Young STEAM Inventors”


Alicia Carroll, M.S.Ed. is the Director of Science, Technology and Engineering at the East Boston Early Education Center School, and a 2018 BPS Teacher of the Year. She is currently integrating STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities into the Boston Public Schools science curriculum through the East Boston Early Education Center School. Alicia is also currently a consultant and researcher with both LEGO Education in Denmark and PBS Kids Twin Cities.

Alicia is an African-American woman with experience living in an Islamic country and traveling in the Middle East and China. She has developed and published thematic curriculum units on “Young Children Learning About Ancient China Through Archeology, Ancient Nubia and Egypt”, and “Learning to Read Nature’s Book,” an interdisciplinary project-based unit through the study of the environment and social justice (2005, co-authored with Bisse Bowman).

She was a graduate of Wheelock College and has been teaching in Boston Public Schools since 1997. Alicia was a founding teacher with Deborah Meier of the Mission Hill School in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and has taught Pre-K to Grade 3 for nearly ten years. She was once a Teacher Developer with the Boston Public Schools, mentoring teachers through their first year in the classroom. Alicia also received the Boston Superintendent’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2002. In 2004, she was a Fulbright Scholar to Kenya and Tanzania; she also received Fund for Teachers Fellowship with two colleagues for research in those countries. In 2005 and 2006, Alicia was selected for “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.” Alicia has also served on the Educational Advisory Board at Wheelock College.

In 2010, Alicia and colleague Lucy Montgomery received a Fund for Teachers grant to travel to Malaysia to present their research on connections between Africa, China and Islam through the Silk Route trade, and their children’s book, Malindi’s Journey, at the First International Conference on Zheng He, in Melaka, Malaysia. The conference is organized by the Melaka State Government, the Perbadanan Museum Melaka, Cheng Ho (Zheng He) Cultural Museum and International Zheng He Society (Singapore); the theme was Zheng He and the Afro-Asian World. Their paper from the conference, Malindi’s Journey: An African Giraffe Travels to China on the Treasure Ships of Zheng He is included in a book of the conference proceedings, to be published in 2011.

In her role as a classroom teacher, Alicia developed and implemented a thematic curriculum unit on East Africa, China and Islam directly based on using Malindi’s Journey in the classroom. She has documented this curriculum and its impact on the students’ learning in an article published by Beacon Press in a book entitled Quality Education as a Constitutional Civil Right, edited by Bob Moses. The chapter describes how this content can be integrated across disciplines, and how it can be used as model for content-rich literacy and math curriculum that promotes student achievement. In the spring of 2011, Alicia set up a model classroom at the Boston Teachers’ Union School to work with teachers on integrating thematic teaching with content area standards and block exploration.

In 2015, Alicia was invited to the White House to participate in the White House Computer Science and STEM Tech Jam. She has continued to participate in a working group that was created at the Tech Jam. Alicia is also currently co-authoring a children’s book with Lucy to be publighed in 2018 entitled Malindi’s Journey about a giraffe brought by African ambassadors brought to China with the treasure ships of Zheng He, the Chinese Muslim explorer of the 15th century. Through “Malindi’s Block Project,” teachers will be trained in culturally responsive teaching, while learning and teaching about China and Africa.