SCHS welcomes physical education teacher AJ Castillo and his efforts to teach life lessons


Nishita Viswajith

Aside from teaching, Castillo coaches special teams and wide receivers of the SCHS varsity football team.

AJ Castillo is a new physical education teacher at SCHS who has previously taught in Palo Alto, Pacifica and San Mateo. He moved to Santa Clara over the summer from Palo Alto, unaware that he would have a position at SCHS until one of his friends, Nelson Gifford, took over as Athletic Director and informed him of an opening to teach P.E. 

Upon graduating from Palo Alto High School, Castillo attended Foothill College before earning a bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development from San Jose State University. Afterwards, he pursued a master’s degree in Secondary Education at the University of Phoenix.

Castillo has wanted to be a P.E. teacher since the beginning of his college career. After graduating, he became a coach for his alma mater’s football team and decided he wanted to become a P.E. teacher.

“I played sports pretty much my whole life as a little kid,” Castillo said. “I really enjoyed playing sports and I didn’t get the option to continue playing sports after high school, so I wanted to see if I could do something that would kind of fill that void.” 

Through teaching P.E., Castillo hopes to encourage students to discover their passion.

“My goal overall is to have students find something they enjoy and continue doing it beyond high school,” Castillo said.

Aside from teaching, Castillo is passionate about coaching the special teams and wide receivers of the SCHS varsity football team. Additionally, he looks to help students with sports other than football.

“I look forward to coaching other sports, maybe wrestling, basketball, track and field – wherever I can get in,” Castillo said.

Castillo’s goal at Santa Clara is to give his students life lessons that will stay with them beyond high school. He believes that sports are a gateway to good life skills.

“I want to help them build their social network and their social skills so that they can be impactful citizens in their daily community, whether that’s college, whether that’s their family, immediate family – or when they decide to have a family – making them better humans so that they can represent Santa Clara and contribute to the world,” Castillo said.