Peter Cirincione returns to Blair as Social Studies teacher

by Amanda Liu '20 for Silver Quest
Tension is high in room 132 as students perch on the edges of their seats, phones in hand, fingers poised at the ready. The Kahoot display on the Promethean Board switches to answer choices, and incoming responses immediately flood the upper right-hand counter. In just seconds, all the participants have submitted their choices. Smiling at the anticipation apparent on his students’ faces, Mr. Cirincione displays the question statistics, and a mixture of groans and whoops breaks the silence of the classroom. 

@PeterCirincioneMany Blair students are familiar with Mr. Cirincione, one of the social studies teachers at Blair. However, most students are not aware that Mr. Cirincione was once not only a Blazer himself, but also a magnet student. 

Mr. Cirincione attended both the Takoma Park and Blair magnet programs. After graduating from Blair in 2002, Mr. Cirincione went on to study at Brown University, where he double majored in education and history. He taught in Boston and San Francisco, earning his master’s degree in teaching at Stanford University. In 2014, Mr. Cirincione returned to Blair, this time as a teacher rather than a student (Silver Chips). 

When asked about his experience as a student at Blair, Mr. Cirincione has overall fond memories. “I was really happy at Blair,” he says. “I was stressed at times, and sad at other times, but... I felt I belonged here. I felt there were things I could do that mattered. 

Although a magnet student, Mr. Cirincione chose a humanities-focused path. His favorite classes were AP NSL and AP Comparative Government - the ones he now teaches. As for magnet electives, Mr. Cirincione enjoyed the challenges they had to offer, but never felt that he was in the “upper echelon” of those classes. 

As a high school student, Mr. Cirincione was very involved in extracurricular activities. He played lacrosse on Blair’s new lacrosse team throughout all four years of high school. In his junior year, Mr. Cirincione initiated a mentoring program to match upperclassmen with elementary school students identified by their principal as needing extra assistance. This experience helped him realize that he could truly make a difference in people’s lives, even as a teenager. As a senior, Mr. Cirincione opted to do an “alternative SRP,” where he worked with a teacher to design a city planning course. This experience ultimately led to Mr. Cirincione’s realization that he wanted to teach as a career.

Mr. Cirincione says that the best part of his job is the immediacy of his results. Seeing a student have an “oh” moment within just a class period or two is “one of the most wonderful feelings.” He hopes that his students will be able to use the knowledge they learn from him to change the world someday. 

While Mr. Cirincione loves teaching, Blair in particular holds a special place in his heart. One of his favorite parts about this school is its diversity. However, in his junior year, Mr. Cirincione began to realize that while Blair as a school was very diverse, his friendship circles and classes were not. As a teacher he believes that although Blair still falls short in this area, his AP classes now are more racially diverse than they were when he was a student. His advice for current Blair students? Challenge yourself to embrace diversity within your own friendships. 

From tutoring struggling elementary school children to teaching hundreds of high schoolers every day, Mr. Cirincione has continued to make a positive, lasting impact on the Blair community for over a decade. His Kahoot review game may be over within half an hour, but the lessons learned from his class will stay with his students forever.