Ernie has a deep love for project-based learning and the skills, learning opportunities, and confidence that it provides students. Ernie started teaching right out of college at the age of 21. He began his career as a science teacher in independent schools. Eventually, he decided to go back to school to pursue a career in science he received his Ph.D. from UCLA in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics and did a Post-Doctoral fellowship at Cornell Med School. During his time in New York, Ernie realized how much he missed opportunities to teach.
He returned to Los Angeles to teach middle school and high school students. He soon became the Science Department Chair. He was tasked with hiring, training, and acculturating teachers. Over his four years as department chair Ernie helped restructure the science department, adding several new elective courses, infusing culturally responsive pedagogy into the science curriculum, and placing a focus on active learning. In addition, Ernie worked very closely with the Director of Service Learning to create a program aimed at developing leadership in his students while simultaneously providing an after-school science program to local elementary and middle school students. During his time as an independent school educator Ernie has also been an Upper School Dean of Students, Director of Entrepreneurship, a Dean of Academic Integrity, and he has worked closely with the Directors of Diversity and Inclusion. In addition, Ernie is on the board the non-profit organization SoCal POCIS (Southern California People of Color in Independent Schools) whose mission is focused on equity, diversity and inclusion practices and training in independent schools. Ernie is currently working on opening PRIME School, a new charter school in Gardena, California.