Feliciano Jaime Atienza

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Feliciano Jaime Atienza, New York Times 2008 Teacher of the Year.

Feliciano “Chito” Jaime Atienza is a Filipino educator recognized by the New York Times as the 2008 ESOL Teacher of the Year for his remarkable dedication and genuine passion for teaching.


Early life and Career

Feliciano Jaime Atienza used to live in Sta. Cruz, Manila before he migrated to the United States in 1985. He gained his college degree from De La Salle University in Manila. His early stints with different Catholic schools gave him enough initial experience to hone his teaching skills. While he was teaching in Adamson University, he discovered a special interest in teaching languages to his foreign born students from middle Eastern countries. Later, he ventured further in this profession through the Philippine Refugee Processing Center where he formally taught under the English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

As an educator, Chito Atienza prescribes a “can-do” attitude and time tested skills. His classroom is known for his healing and empowering concept of “skinship” and trust.

Life in New York

In 1985, Atienza left the Philippines and moved to New York City to pursue his career in ESL training. He has been working as an ESOL teacher for the English Language and Employment Services for Adult Immigrants and Refugees (ELESAIR) Project of YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) International and the Queens Library since then. He conducts several courses in ESOL such as Diversity and Conflict Management in the ESOL Classroom; Literacy Teacher Training and Cultural Orientation; ESOL Testing and Evaluation; Language Program Development and Implementation; and UNHCR/ICMC Southeast Asian Refugee ESL/CO Programs.

In his interview with the Asian Journal, Atienza recounted the years of living and working in New York. For more than two decades, he saw the flow of immigrants in the city from different countries. He usually spends his free time at Barnes and Noble bookstore, Central Park, Vinieros in the East Village, and Cafe de la Artiste in the West Village. He is permanently based in New York but still visits his family in the Philippines in Lumban, Laguna every year.


In March 28, 2008, Chito Atienza was named as the New York Times Teacher of the Year. This annual ESOL Teacher of the Year Award recognizes outstanding ESOL instructors. It gives awards to the winner and four honorees based on the nominations of students, teaching colleagues, and administrators.


  • De Castro, Cynthia. "Galing Pinoy: Chito Atienza, New York Teacher of the Year 2008." Asian Journal. (Accessed May 13, 2008)
  • "The New York Times Announces the Winner and Four Honorees of the Second Annual ESOL Teacher of the Year Award." Msn.com (Accessed May 13, 2008)



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