New teacher Mr. Cardiasmenos unites music and French into curriculum


Teju Anand

After substituting for many schools across the country, Mr. C settles at Dougherty as the new French teacher.

With former Dougherty French teacher Mrs. Allison Hussenet’s departure, Mr. Andrew Cardiasmenos (Mr. C) has come in as a new French teacher for French II and Honors French IV, incorporating his passion for music into his daily lesson plans for the benefit of his students. 

However, his path to becoming a French teacher was not an easy one. Only after venturing into another career did he realize that teaching was his true passion, one that he had actually been practicing since the very beginning. 

“Initially, I was on a different career and was gonna do full-time music as a composer. At the time I was feeling disconnected and it was a lonely job. I missed that interaction with people and over time, it hit me. It wasn’t necessarily one person — it was because I was unhappy with where I was. But I realized all this time I have been informally teaching and even formally teaching through piano lessons. It consumed me in that moment,” he said. 

The decision to teach French over composing music ultimately came down to the impact he strives to make on students in high school. 

“I really enjoy composing and teaching but I think teaching languages and different cultures is very important in all ages, but especially in high school so that we can open [students’] worldviews. Appreciation, understanding and empathy for different cultures and languages is essential,” he said. 

Although he had to abandon his full-time career of composing music to teach French, remnants of his past job can still be seen in his current teaching style. 

“We sing songs to remember things every once in a while. We listen to French songs as we move along and use them for windows into the cultures,” he said. 

In his free time, he works as a choir director at his local church, so he has the best of both worlds to balance out his different lifestyles. 

Former French teacher Mrs. Hussenet approves of Cardiesmenos’s music background, as she was a part of the interview process and ultimately selected him to be the new French teacher.

“Madame Moriya (who’s on maternity leave) and I would always do dorky warm-ups at the beginning of class, and I do that without a music background, so he can take the little things we do and make it better. He could really get involved with the clubs like Creative Music Composition and interact with the large music community on our campus,” Hussenet said. 

So far, Mr. C has been enjoying his time at Dougherty, comparing it to where he used to teach in Newark. 

“I really was blown away by the focus on relationships that we have at DV, and we can feel that from the interview. The administration, teachers, everybody is like a family.”