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Home » Santa Clarita News » Hart District Announces Candidates For ‘Teacher Of The Year’

Hart District Announces Candidates For ‘Teacher Of The Year’

17 candidates for district's highest honor cover spectrum of experience, involvement.

Seventeen teachers representing all of the Hart District’s
schools have been named Teacher of the Year by their respective sites. All 17
will be presented to the Hart District Governing Board at its Sept. 3, meeting,
when one will be announced as District Teacher of the Year, to represent the
Hart District in Los Angeles County
competition.

 

This year’s Teachers of the Year and the schools they
represent are:

 

 

 


Elizabeth Craig
has been teaching mathematics at Canyon
High School since 1999, has taught
Advanced Placement Calculus since 2001 and has served as Math Department chair
since 2002. She also teaches upper division math classes for teachers through
the University of California
at Los Angeles. “Students are
unique,” Craig reflected. “It is my job to make sure that each and every one of
them leaves my class understanding the mathematical concepts that will help
them succeed.”

 

 

 


Lorraine Fulleman
has been a teacher librarian at Sierra
Vista Junior High School
since 2000. She has made the library a focal point for students with such
innovative programs as lunchtime guest speakers, outreach to local elementary
schools, contests and an historical Ellis Island
simulation. “Literacy is a skill, and the love of reading is a joy,” Fulleman
explains. “A library needs to be a dynamic learning hub for the campus.”

 


Rob Frechette
has more than 18 years of experience at
teaching and coaching children, and has been a special education teacher at Hart
High School since 2003. He uses the
tools learned on the ice rink or football field to guide his classroom
approach. “Students in my class are heard, respected and challenged,” he said.
“(They) know that they are held accountable for their actions at all times and
that their attitudes will help to dictate their successes in life.”

 

 

 


Fayanne Gabel
came to the Hart District in 2004 as a
mathematics teacher at Hart High
School and joined the staff at West
Ranch High School
in 2007. At West Ranch, she has served as intervention coordinator and co-chair
of the Math Department and has served as a district staff development
presenter. “Not only can every child do math, but every child can be extremely
successful in it, if you recognize their individual needs and work to
differentiate their instruction,” she says.

 


Fidel Garcia
has been a special education junior high school
teacher at Sequoia Learning Charter since joining the Hart District in 2007. He
also teaches high school physical education and is the school’s athletic
director.  “As a teacher I strive to
create a fun environment in which to learn and at the same time a challenging
environment,” he explains.  “I believe
all students can and want to learn.  All
this begins with the creation of a positive and mutually respectful teacher
student relationship.”

 


Lee Gately
started his career in the Hart District in 2001
as a math teacher and team leaders at La Mesa
Junior High School. He became part
of the original leadership team at Rancho Pico Junior High in 2004 and has
served as math teacher, exploratory teacher, department chair, team leader and
MathCounts coordinator. “Our classrooms should be shelters for every child,” he
reflects, citing the difficulties facing many students at junior high age.

 


Greg Herrick
came to the Hart District in 1979 and taught at
Bowman and Hart high schools before joining the staff of Academy of the Canyons
in 2004.  In addition to teaching social
studies, he serves as department chair and his school’s diversity liaison. “I
believe that teaching is like taking public transportation in a foreign country,”
he explained. “You have to trust that the driver knows where he/she is going. I
want the students to trust that I, like the driver, am taking them where they
want to go.”

 


Jamie Herrington
has been a social studies teacher at Bowman
High School since 1998, after
serving for a year as a long-term substitute teacher and summer school U.S.
History teacher at Hart High. She is Social Studies Department chair at Bowman
and served as a Model Continuation
High School team member in 2007. “I
believe what I offer my students extends far beyond the classroom and into
their personal lives and maturation process,” she noted.

 


Carolyn Hoffman
first taught at Golden
Oak Adult School
for four years, then transferred to Golden Valley
High School in 2004. She is English
Department chair, cheer advisor, Safe Schools coordinator, English language development
coordinator, and a member of the school’s leadership team. Hoffman has turned
her classroom into a tropical oasis where her at-risk English language learner
students experience a safe learning environment.

 


Joanna Johnson
came to the Hart District in 2004 as a
special education teacher at Arroyo Seco
Junior High School. She is the
Special Education Department chair and implemented the school’s model program
for collaboration and inclusion. Under her leadership, Arroyo Seco “has evolved
into a professional learning community that has embraced the concept of
inclusive education, both academically and socially, for our special education
students.”

 


Jeanette Kratofil
filled a long-term substitute role at Hart
High in the 1996-97 school year, then returned to teach at Rio Norte Junior
High in 2005. She teaches the Exploratory PEACE class for seventh graders,
which emphasizes issues of cultural diversity and tolerance. “PEACE is designed
to encourage students to pay more attention to each other and to the world
around them,” she explains. “It is based on sharing.”

 


Frank Koroshec
has been teaching English at Saugus
High School for four years, having
joined the Hart District as a substitute teacher from 1999 through 2004. He has
served as a mentor to both newly hired teachers and low performing students.
“Students desire a teacher who cares about them and is interested in their
lives,” he commented. “Once a teacher has proven himself or herself in this,
the classroom becomes a very exciting place.”

 


John Minkus
has been a special day class teacher at Valencia
High School since 1998, where he is
also a department chair. He is currently teaching three levels of English, but
in the past has also taught Modern Civilization, U.S. History and
Government/Economics. He also is the school’s golf coach and Key Club advisor.
“All that is asked of the student is effort; improvement then will come,” he
explained. “That is success.”

 

 

Christine Parr is an English Language Development (EL)
teacher and the ELD Coordinator at Placerita Junior High. She worked at Canyon
High School for four years as an
English teacher and transferred to Placerita to follow her true passion,
working with students for whom English is a second language. “I’ve experienced
the joys and struggles of teaching junior high students and in the end, I
wouldn’t trade their enthusiasm nor the wonderful relationships I share with my
ELD students for anything in the world,” she commented.

 

 


Jeffrey Stephan’s
first teaching assignment was at La Mesa
Junior High, where he has been on the staff since 2000. He teaches instrumental
music, three levels of band, jazz band, bilingual education (Spanish) and rock
climbing. “When people have asked me ‘What do you do for a living?’ I have
always responded that I teach confidence,” he confided. “The powers of uniting
students to motivate, support and learn from each other is truly awesome.”

 


Stella Theuer
has taught parent education classes for Golden
Oak Adult School
since 1978. She also facilitates the valley’s sole parenting program for
parents of English learners and is heavily involved in family literacy
development. She is proud of the 13 “recycled babies” in her program—former
toddlers who now attend as parents!

 


Jason Wilhelm
came to the Hart District in 2007 as a ninth
grade English/language arts summer school teacher. That fall he joined the Early
College High School
staff, where he teaches ninth grade English/language arts and journalism. At a
young age he decided he wanted to be a teacher and, after a sojourn in the
Navy, he returned to the classroom to “share my joy for learning and share
information worth knowing.”

 

Teacher of the Year honorees are chosen by their peers and
the administration at each site. The District Teacher of the Year advances to
the county level, where a small number of honorees are selected to represent Los
Angeles County at
the state and possibly even the national level.

 

All of the district’s Teachers of the Year will be honored
at a luncheon this fall at Robinson Ranch, in addition to their Governing board
presentation. Their portraits will be on display in the district’s Administrative
Center for the 2008-09 school year.

Hart District Announces Candidates For ‘Teacher Of The Year’

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