Shakira Perez was born and raised in Hartford. She lived in the Rice Heights Housing projects in the Behind the Rocks section of Hartford and attended Hartford Schools all her life. Shakira attended kindergarten and first grade at Kinsella Elementary, second grade at Batchelder Elementary and third through sixth grade at Mary M. Hooker School. She was accepted to the Classical Magnet Program, housed at Quirk Middle School, for grades seven and eight and continued with the program through grade twelve at Hartford Public High School. Shakira attended Capital Community College for a year before transferring to Saint Joseph College, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in English. She later returned to Saint Joseph College to complete her Master’s degree in Education.

Shakira is a true believer in being a lifelong learner. In 2007, she became a fellow of the Central Connecticut Writing Project, where she remains heavily involved with the reading department at Central Connecticut State University. Through the CT Writing Project, she has had the opportunity to present at CCSU’s Literacy Essentials Conference, Idea Share and the Latinos in Action Youth Conference. In July 2017, Shakira, along with the director of the CT Writing Project, led a workshop on promoting reading and writing in and beyond the classroom at the European Literacy Conference in Madrid, Spain. In 2019, she was a recipient of the Funds for Teachers grant and traveled to Oxford, England and Copenhagen, Denmark to attend and present workshops on creating possibilities for writing on the secondary level at the International Roundtable Symposium and the European Literacy Conference, respectively.

Shakira is currently teaching 8th and 12th grade English at Classical Magnet School. She takes great pride in being a teacher at Classical having graduated from the program in 1995. She feels like she has come full circle and is now able to give back what she has received.  She serves as the senior advisor and an instructional leader. In addition, she is a member of the School Governance Committee focusing on curriculum and instruction. Shakira loves to attend the school’s sports games and can be seen rooting from the stands. In the spring, you can catch her coaching the girls’ varsity tennis team.

Shakira enjoys traveling, reading and DIY projects. She is a writer for the Ana Grace Project Facebook page, where she shares the ups, downs and all-arounds of teaching and dabbles in some creative writing of her own. Shakira lives in Hartford with her two children, Josiah and Scarlett.

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