The Beat

The Beat

Martina Santos 26 (left) hosts Nieves Gomez as an exchange student from Madrid.
Meet Nieves Gomez
May 27, 2024

The New Teacher Feature : Ms. Dugarte


and Daniella Roos ’24

Wonder who made those robot displays? Who’s better – Harry Potter or Percy Jackson? What is a pathology museum? Ms. Dugarte knows the answers!

This year, we have welcomed many new teachers to the Carrollton community. The New Teacher Feature is a great way to welcome our new members and get to know them.

With her red hair, glasses, and contagious smile, Ms. Alexandra Dugarte, the new Upper School librarian, always sits behind her desk ready to assist students. As to why Ms. Dugarte decided to become a librarian, she told the Carrollton Post, “I like reading and learning new things, so I am a ‘nerd’… Being a librarian, I can always be researching new information and helping students.” She also shared that one of her secret talents is that she is a speed reader. “I can read an entire book in a few hours … if I really like it,” she said. “That’s how you know it’s a great book.”

Ms. Dugarte grew up in Miami, received her first bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing at Florida State University, a master’s degree in Creative Writing at St. Mary’s University Twickenham in London, and then a second master’s degree in Information at Florida State University.

When asked about the most interesting thing she has ever done, Ms. Dugarte said that it was her experience volunteering at St. Barts Pathology Museum, which is a museum of medicine containing human specimens.

New to Carrollton, Ms. Dugarte is already very fond of our tradition of goûter. She also appreciates the strong sense of community. “The fact that everyone comes together all the time – I like that,” said Ms. Dugarte when describing some of her favorite things about Carrollton. Her favorite part of being Carrollton’s librarian has been getting to know all the students and trying to get them to read more. Ms. Dugarte told us that her goals for this year are to “reintroduce what the library has to offer and what resources it has available, and hopefully just get people to read and check out books.” She also would like to start a book club or something similar in the Upper School if there is sufficient interest. 

While interviewing Ms. Dugarte, the Carrollton Post editors couldn’t help but ask for her opinion on the ongoing battle between readers all over the world: is Percy Jackson better than Harry Potter? Both are extraordinary books that allow kids to be transported into a world of heroes and monsters, but J.K Rowling and Rick Riordan have different writing styles. Descriptive passages flood the pages of Rowling’s books, and banter and jokes pepper the pages of Riordan’s books. Dugarte chose to remain partially neutral on the controversy, stating, “One is more mythology based, and one is more fantasy. I like both of them, but if you are a mythology buff, Percy Jackson is the way to go.” At the end of the day she says she is “just glad people are reading.” 

Although Ms. Dugarte has enjoyed reading both series, neither the Percy Jackson nor Harry Potter books are her favorites. Hers is a little more classic – Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. She appreciates the fact that it was written by a young woman during a time when women were not as respected intellectually. “She wrote it when she was 18,” Dugarte said with a twinkle of admiration in her eyes. “It’s a bit of science fiction, horror, religion, and faith. It also begs the question, is Frankenstein a monster, or is it man?” To call this her favorite book is understandable, since Ms. Dugarte’s favorite subjects in school were a mix of English and Science. Though, when asked if her favorite genre of book is science fiction, Ms. Dugarte said she preferred fantasy and historical fiction.


Ms. Dugarte made a big splash with the Klara and the Sun robot display which brought the AF store to life. She assembled the robots on the wall at her house, and sourced the smaller robot at the front from the RECs department. She tried to stick closely to the description of the shop in the book, creating different sections of the store within the display and providing excerpts from the book on the glass in front of the display. “In the beginning, [Klara] talks about placement … so [in the display] we have the back room, the mid store, and the front. Each of the three excerpts on the plexiglass are from when Klara is in those different areas,” said Ms. Dugarte. She also poses a question to the Upper School, “How does our placement, figuratively and literally in the world, affect how we observe it?” Ms. Dugarte also told us of a decision she had to make when building the display – what to make the robots look like. Ishiguro leaves the description of the robots vague, so creating physical representations of them can be challenging. “Everyone pictures them differently,” said Ms. Dugarte. “I had to go back in the book and see – do they look like us, or is it just that we give Klara a face? She is very human, but obviously they are still technically robots because you can identify them as such.” In the end, Ms. Dugarte decided to represent them as looking more robotic, and we think it looks amazing!


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