LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A Los Angeles Unified School District educator was named as one of five California Teachers of the Year by the state Department of Education on Wednesday, Oct. 12.
Isela Lieber has been teaching for 10 years, the last four at James Monroe High School in North Hills, where she teaches English, English as a Second Language (ESL) and ESL science to ninth- and 10th-graders.
An immigrant who came to the United States with a seventh-grade education and very little knowledge of the English language, Lieber sponsors a student club called SUCCEED that helps soon-to-be first-generation high school graduates get into college.
Under Lieber’s leadership, the club — whose members are all English learners, most of them economically disadvantaged — provides after-school workshops on applying for financial aid, as well as community workshops for parents on the college process.
“Her example to our students is living proof of a strong commitment to student achievement,” said Chris Rosas, principal at Monroe High.
“As an immigrant herself, English learner and first-generation college student, she makes a daily commitment to serve by leading by example,” Rosas said. “She models effective teaching strategies and holds all staff and students to high standards with their classroom practices.”
Others honored by the state were:
— Shaun S. Bunn, who teaches mathematics to seventh- and eighth-graders at Ethan A. Chase Middle School in Menifee, which is part of the Romoland School District in Riverside County.
— Megan Gross, who works with autistic students at Del Norte High School in 4S Ranch in San Diego;
— Yun “Jenny” Tzu Anderson, who teaches the so-called STEM subjects at the Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math in Vista; and
— Corinne Traynor, a fifth grade multi-subject teacher in Placer County.
Gross, who has worked in special education for the Poway Unified School District since 2013, was chosen to represent California in the national Teacher of the Year competition.
“I am pleased to honor five dedicated and hardworking teachers who use their creativity and talents every day to make a huge difference in their classrooms,” said Tom Torlakson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction.
“These inspiring and innovative teachers enrich the lives of our students while helping them to succeed in 21st century careers and college,” he said. “These teachers represent the best of their profession and serve as great examples.”