Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Albay


Sebastian Avalos

Teaching is a career choice that is strengthened over time. Meaning the more time spent teaching the better it will be. Here at MHS, there are a lot of veteran teachers having well over 15 years of experience in this career path. Jacqueline Albay, the head of the science department, is one of the more experienced teachers at MHS with 31 years of experience. Albay has mentioned that she has spent the entirety of those 31 years teaching specifically at Montclair as the environment was very welcoming, the familial relationships among staff were wholesome, and because it was her first job here in the U.S.


Albay originally didn’t want to get into teaching. When she first arrived in the US in 1990, she wanted to pursue a career in nursing. However, when she applied to Cal State’s, She decided to major in chemical engineering and would, later on, earn a bachelor’s degree. As time went on Albay was inspired to begin teaching after her ex-husband suggested it. “ After he suggested teaching, I went to Montclair and observed the chemistry class and decided I wanted to do that,” Albay stated. She later earned a Master’s degree in teaching and ended up teaching chemistry because she wanted to apply the knowledge that she has from chemical engineering and teach the subject that she enjoyed during high school. 


Once she had all of her credentials, Albay had to teach at an AP level for the first 23 years of her teaching career. “The original AP chemistry teacher was here for the beginning of the year but abruptly left and I had to fill that role.” She also mentioned how it was difficult for her as she had to figure out what the kids needed to work on. “We had to do labs and that took up too much time,” Albay mentioned, “ because it took too much time it was very difficult to cover all required curriculum.” Despite teaching AP chemistry for 23 years, Albay has stated that she wouldn’t go back to the AP setting as it is too much work, especially for someone being the head of the science department. She does, however, teach Honors chemistry alongside prep and has mentioned that there isn’t any difficulty as the students are motivated and willing to learn.


After having about 30 years of teaching experience, Albay is looking toward her plans for retirement. She plans on retiring after the 2023-2024 school year. She mentioned that she’d like to spend more time with her hobbies which include gardening and dancing. She also plans to travel once she retires. She plans on traveling to Egypt as her first location and hopes to go to other places with the free time she will have. “ I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Montclair,” she said, “ the staff and the students help make a welcoming environment especially when I was just entering the country and looking for a job.” As mentioned earlier, the environment here at Montclair helped ease any misgiving that Albay could’ve had as everyone treated each other like family. The staff and students at Montclair help build such a calm, and healthy environment for people who feel like strangers to join a family and be a part of something bigger.