Hi, I'm Josh
and this is my talented, beautiful, amazing wife Anna
Together, we have these two cute kids, David and Alexander
During the day,
I'm a Math teacher
and by night,
I'm a Senate candidate and Dad
In 2009 I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Stony Brook University in beautiful New York State. While in school I also worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the neuropsychology department of Brookhaven National Laboratories, and as a denim specialist at the Gap in the Smithhaven Mall-- it was there that I met my future wife and partner, Anna.
After Stony Brook, Anna and I moved back to Orlando together and began our careers in education by working as private tutors. Over the next few years I completed a second Bachelor’s Degree in business administration from Northwood University, and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Central Florida.
We worked as private tutors for a number of years, specializing in test prep and helping hundreds of students to improve their SAT and ACT scores, and gain admission to the schools of their dreams.
In 2012, when Anna became pregnant with our first son, David, I began working for Orange County Public Schools as a math and science teacher in their Alternative Education facilities. These are essential, off-site programs, where the school district establishes classrooms in non-traditional settings to ensure access to education for students who would otherwise be unable to attend public school. I worked for three years inside of a Department of Juvenile Justice correctional program, and two years in a residential mental health facility.
In 2017, my wife and I were offered jobs teaching abroad at a private school in the Middle East. It was a tremendous opportunity, and for a family living on two teacher's salaries, we had no idea if we'd ever have another to chance to see the world like this. We spent one year at A'Takamul International School in Kuwait, and in that time had our perspectives of the entire world reshaped, and travelled to places like Istanbul, Beirut, Jerusalem, and Rome on trips we will never forget.
Since returning to the states in 2018, I have worked as a math teacher in Osceola County, while Anna returned to teaching German in Orange County. We both continue to be involved in the development and enrichment of standards and curriculum for our subject areas, both inside and outside of our respective districts, as active members of our local teachers unions, and state teacher organizations (Florida Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and Florida Foreign Language Association).
From 2012-2017 I worked extensively as a volunteer outreach coordinator with the Islamic Center of Orlando. Over that time, what started as a weekly Open House where local residents could come tour the Mosque and ask questions about our faith, grew into a network of outreach with churches, synagogues, community action centers, local governments, and law enforcement agencies across the state.
In five years, we build bridges throughout the community, and as a result saw ICO hosting foreign dignitaries, U.S. Congressmen (and women), and national and international media. In the wake of the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub in 2016, ICO became a focus of international spotlight as we struggled against a barrage of Islamophobia and threats of violence against our community, while we worked tirelessly to bring all faiths in our community together, and to provide as much support as possible for out LGBTQ neighbors.
The achievement I am most proud of in my time working for ICO was the acquisition of our Food Truck. This was a project I worked on for two years, and its success is demonstrated by the good work it continues to do to this day. The premise is simple, one of our families sign up to take the food truck out, they buy the type of food they would like to make and serve, then they go out into the community and feed people, free of charge. The ICO Food Truck is available for appearances at community events, on request, and performs weekly trips out into the community.
Before leaving for our new jobs in Kuwait in 2017, Imam Tariq Rasheed and the Islamic Center of Orlando presented me with an award to recognize my work for them, and the community at large, over the previous five years.