Nico Krell

Boot Camp teacher and Zinc tutor Nico is a graduate of Princeton University, where he was the first student to major in Performance Studies–a blend of anthropology and critical theory. His research applied political accountability to American cultural practices, and for his creative work he was awarded the university’s top honor, the Lewis Suddler Prize. He is from Montevideo, Uruguay, and has been a private tutor since 2016. His curriculum uses a neurological foundation to train executive function, bolstering the skills required for success in high school. He believes that education should fuel our interests–curiosity is key.

Nico directing a rehearsal for Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest.

This summer, Nico teaches the morning section of our June SAT/ACT Boot Camp. We asked Nico about favorite teachers, great books, and college advice.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

“Favorite” can be unfair to the many selfless teachers from my time, but one undeniable mentor of mine was Jean, my high school’s principal and theater teacher (an inspired combination). Jean had three superpowers: eye contact that went straight to your spine and helped you stand taller, the absolute conviction that each of us students was capable of excellence, and her trusty cocker spaniel Aditi who followed her everywhere, salving the stresses of high school. 

Although you can’t meet Jean, you can learn from Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky, whose first lecture from his introductory science course is a riveting example of stellar teaching.

What’s a book that changed the way you see the world?

While I want to bring up the book that has been rattling my brain recently (The Archive and the Repertoire by Diana Taylor), I have to give credit where credit is due. The first books to profoundly expand my worldview were the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Daniel Handler (better known as Lemony Snicket) made mature, complicated parts of life–corruption, injustice, the water cycle–tangible for my young mind, and he charmed me into diving into harder books with his charm and humor. They are well worth a re-read as a teen. You might pick up a few life-long lessons on the way. My favorite was this: in times of peril, you can always find what you need in a library.

What do you wish someone had told you when you were going through the college process?

Sure, information sessions and campus tours (even virtual ones) are jam-packed with useful information, but remember that the core of your day will be spent in classes. So spend some time imagining yourself in the classes taught in each school: I recommend you find each school’s course catalogue online and open tabs for any and all classes that pique your interest. (Be prepared to have hundreds of tabs open–that’s a good sign!) Search far and wide–there’s a lot to get excited about!