James Nieves Bermúdez grew up in the town of Hatillo, Puerto Rico. He decided to become a teacher when he was in high school. After graduating high school in 1996, James attended the University of Puerto Rico, School of Education, and majored in Spanish. During his junior year in college, he had the opportunity to be part of the Cordova Internship. He worked at the office of the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington DC, where he covered congressional hearings related to education. After completing his internship, he returned to Puerto Rico to finish college where he received the medal of excellence in student teaching.
James graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in May of 2002. While in Puerto Rico, James had the opportunity to interview with the Syracuse City School District and obtained a teaching job at the George W. Fowler High School. He taught all levels of Spanish, including Spanish for Spanish Speakers and Distant Learning Spanish. In May 2009, James completed his Master’s Degree at Syracuse University in the Spanish Language, Literature and Culture program. He has held many leadership roles such as department chair, building union representative, secretary of the Syracuse Teacher’s Association and Coordinator of the Twilight Academy. James also had the opportunity to be part of the Teacher Advisory Council to the Commissioner of Education of New York State. In October of 2013, James received the Educator of the Year Award from the Nosotros Radio, in Syracuse, NY.
James completed his Certificate of Advance Studies at the State University of New York at Oswego in Education Leadership. In September of 2014, James had the opportunity to become Vice Principal of the Westside Academy at Blodgett. James is part of the recruitment team for the Syracuse City School District and the ELL Core Leadership Team. In July 2018, James became the Principal of Seymour Dual Language Academy where he currently works. He has been part of the Syracuse Westside community for the past 17 years.