Mr. Bileca Appointed Head of School at Vail Mountain School in Colorado


Mr. Bileca, Ms. Alonso and their children Daniel ’18 and Alexander ’22 bikepacking a 500-mile route along the Camino de Santiago in Spain a few years ago. They look forward to more outdoor adventures in Colorado!

After nine years on the Hilltop, Mr. Bileca will depart Hackley at the end of the 2021-22 school year to become Head of School at Vail Mountain school in Colorado. Mr. Bileca first came to Hackley as the Middle School Director, and after two years in that position, he was appointed Assistant Headmaster. In 2017, Mr. Bileca became the Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, the role he currently holds.

One of Mr. Bileca’s roles at Hackley has been serving as an advisor to different groups of students. Currently, he is a 10th-grade advisor and enjoying his second year with the sophomores. Although this is only his second year advising the group, he has made a notable impact on them.

“I’m sad that he is leaving and I think I can speak on behalf of the whole advisory on the fact that it is nice to get to know someone and make a connection with them,” said Kylie Oh, one of Mr. Bileca’s advisees, “It is unfortunate to not have the final 2 years with him, but I am excited to get to know a new advisor who will hopefully be as wonderful as Mr. Bileca.”

Kylie also talked about her favorite activities and memories as an advisory. She said that every morning the advisory would complete the New York Times mini crossword. Each time they would try to beat their record and it was a great bonding experience.

According to Kylie, Mr. Bileca supported them in the midst of a difficult time.

“I was already really nervous about coming into high school and I was worried about not being able to make bonds with fellow classmates and teachers,” she said, “He made me feel welcomed, and doing the crossword also helped to become closer as an advisory even when it was harder to make connections because of the pandemic.”

As excited as he is for this new opportunity, Mr. Bileca acknowledged the large impact Hackley has had on him.

One of the main ways that Hackley impacted Mr. Bileca, is its core values and mission statements. “The core values resonate. They are not just words on a wall, they really really live, and you can feel just how much they mean throughout the school, especially in the lives of our students. The kindness before everything else is so palpable and evident.”

“There have been few things greater in my life, so far, than having my family here at Hackley,” he said. Mr. Bileca said the love and care that his children received from teachers is unmatched.

Leaving along with Mr. Bileca is his son, Alexander Bileca ’22, and his wife, Angela Alonso, Modern Languages Department Chair.

Hackley students have also had a huge impact on Ms. Alonso.

“When I was a lower school teacher it gave me the opportunity to stretch myself as a teacher and to think about Spanish in a completely different way,” she said, “When I was a middle school teacher the students taught me to always have fun and include games and fun activities into my curriculum. The upper schoolers taught me on how to be a more engaging teacher and how to tailor the curriculum to make it enjoyable, but still being able to teach what needs to be taught.”

As well as being a teacher, Ms. Alonso is also a mother to two students who went or are currently at since their older son Daniel ’18 graduated three years ago. Hackley. She talks about how being a Hackley mom affected her experience:

“Well first, when I first came to Hackley I had to be the teacher for my son. It was challenging at first teaching him, especially when on the first day he raised his hand and yelled ‘mom!’ I loved teaching him and it gave me a new perspective on Hackley life. Being a Hackley mom and a teacher I got to see Hackley inside and out. It gave me the opportunity to see student lives in a different light. It made it easier to understand what the students were going through and gave me a rich perspective on how to better teach in the classroom.”

But like her husband, Ms. Alonso is also looking forward to enriching work at their new school.
“I am hoping to find opportunities pertaining to education whether that is continuing to teach Spanish or doing other service-orientated work,” she said, “I am hoping to do service work with Hispanic populations.”

The idea of working in a school in Colorado appealed to both Mr. Bileca and Ms. Alonso for several reasons, particularly that his family wanted to move up to the mountain states. Mr. Bileca expressed that family is his number one priority and he knew his kids would end up in the mountain states and he and Ms. Alonso wanted to “beat them there.” Mr. Bileca and Ms. Alonso also love the outdoors and they helped to chaperone the outdoors club camping trip two years ago. Colorado is a great place to explore their love of the outdoors.

Alexander Bileca, Mr. Bilecas’s son, is also a lover of the outdoors. “I am excited for the move to Colorado. We are an outdoorsy family and Colorado is an outdoorsy place.” Alexander’s favorite parts of Hackley are that there are different types of people and a good network of teacher support. “The school in colorado is very similar to Hackley and many of the values there interconnect.”

When looking at schools he said that the Vail Mountain School seemed like a “sister school to Hackley.” Mr. Bileca commented that “I wanted to be very selective about where I might serve as a Head of School” and he saw how similar the mission statements at Hackley and the Vail Mountain School were, it inspired him to apply to be the Head of School there. He is honored to have been selected and is determined to make the most of his and his family’s final year on the Hilltop.