The first day Quintin Boyce walked into Bioscience High School as the full-time principal he was riddled with doubt.
He walked toward his office asking himself “Do I know what I’m doing?” and “Am I equipped to handle everything?” But by the second day, his anxious thoughts were replaced with “I’ve been here,” and “I’ve done this before.”
“I love what I do. I love working with students and helping them realize their potential. I really love working with this particular demographic,” Boyce said.
Boyce realized he wanted to be a teacher his senior year at ASU. Up to that point, he thought he wanted to pursue a career as an OB-GYN. But he quickly changed his plans after following his father, a doctor, around a hospital.
At the time, he was tutoring students in the Phoenix Union High School District and he felt a passion toward teaching instead of medicine. It was too late for Boyce to graduate with a degree in education, so instead he continued with his biology degree and graduated in 2001.
But he made a pact with his roommate who was also interested in education — to teach in a random city with a poor education system within one year of graduating.
Boyce said he wanted to work in a place where he could make a difference.
The two put the names of cities into a hat and pledged to work in whichever city they chose.
Which is how, one year later in 2002, Boyce and his friend found themselves loading up a car and driving to Atlanta. Boyce was leaving behind a job promotion and a raise at IBM.
“We didn’t have an apartment confirmed, we didn’t have a job, it was a mess,” Boyce said. “Everybody was like, ‘You guys are crazy, don’t do it.’ But I’m so glad I did.”
Boyce returned to Arizona to teach at Bioscience in 2005 and a couple years later began teaching biology night classes at South Mountain Community College as well. He worked at SMCC for three years, and has stayed with Bioscience since he came to Arizona.
One of Boyce’s Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers, Omar Mora, said Boyce is a transparent person who is able to stay level-headed regardless of the situation.
Boyce’s work makes him feel like he is giving back to the community, Mora said.
“Quintin has had an amazing and tremendous impact on the youth in the Phoenix metropolitan area,” Mora said. “More important than that is the impact students have had on him.”
Last year, Boyce left the classroom to become co-principal with Dee Dee Falls. Boyce took over as full-time principal at the beginning of this school year.
Bioscience saw other firsts besides Boyce’s inaugural year as principal this year. The school started a lottery system for enrollment because the number of qualified students outmatched the number of available spots. In November, the school hosted the first TEDx event sponsored by Evans Churchill Community Association.
Lynn Palacios, humanities instructor and internship coordinator with Bioscience, said Boyce is very compassionate toward students and has a strong rapport with them.
“One of his goals each day is to make sure he spends some time in classrooms with students and teachers so that he doesn’t get bogged down by the administration of being principal,” Palacios said.
She said it keeps him grounded and in touch with what is happening around the school. She said teachers especially appreciate this because they feel they have someone on their side.
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