Whittier City School District Students First. Every Decision-Every Day.

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Teacher of the Year

Clayton Mark - 2018

The Whittier City School District is extremely proud to announce Mr. Clayton Mark, a 5th grade teacher at Mill School & Technology Academy as our 2018 Teacher of the Year.  Mr. Mark has served as a teacher at Mill School & Technology Academy for 15 years.  Mr. Mark exemplifies our District’s motto, ‘Students First. Every Decision- Every Day’, as his commitment to nurturing the talents and interests of his students are at the forefront of everything he does in his classroom.

Mr. Mark was hired at Mill School & Technology Academy in 2004 to serve as an Option 2 teacher. He has taught 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 5th grade. Mr. Mark builds excellent relationships and is known for his genuine, generous nature with every one of his students. He takes a great deal of time to get to know each student he serves, their families, and their interests. Mr. Mark values the connections he has with students and uses their interests to develop thoughtful instruction to engage and support both their strengths and needs.

Mr. Mark is an avid learner who is committed to growing as a professional and supporting those around him. He constantly seeks out new learning opportunities and is a leader at Mill School in many areas including technology, reading, writing, and math. He is open to learning from others and to sharing his ideas.  Mr. Mark is incredibly reflective and thinks carefully about all of his decisions. He asks for feedback from his Principal and colleagues and constantly works to refine and grow his instructional practices.

Mr. Mark is a very valued member of the Mill and Whittier City Team. Clay has served on the Instructional Leadership Team and as the site’s Technology Lead Teacher and is currently a member of the PBIS Team. He gives his time in the summer to work on Curriculum Improvement Teams and volunteers to present at our Parent Academy, Technology Conference, and GATE Conference. He is a team player who gives a great deal to support the excellence throughout the District. 

We are very excited to recognize Mr. Mark as Whittier City School District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. This recognition is very well deserved as his commitment to students, the District, and his professional growth and development are to be commended.  He is a role model for students and to his colleagues.  Congratulations, Mr. Mark!

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Pam Pocock - 2017

 

A teacher has the ability to influence all of her students in life-changing ways.  The impact of such a teacher stretches far beyond the walls of a classroom.  Pam Pocock, our 2017 Whittier City School District teacher of the year, is that life-changing teacher. 

Mrs. Pocock is a teacher who does not consider teaching Kindergarten at Andrews School ‘work’. Every day she models an enthusiasm for learning and a vulnerability about how to learn from mistakes. Mrs. Pocock provides students with rigorous instruction, meaningful feedback, and individualized support to meet the needs of every student.  Her classroom provides the perfect conditions for students to grow, develop, and flourish.  Mrs. Pocock’s passion for teaching inspires both students and colleagues to learn, engage, and strive to be their very best.  Mrs. Pocock believes that every child has the potential to be outstanding. Her commitment to providing an excellent and engaging academic and social experience to all students is paramount.

Mrs. Pocock has a special effect on students and parents in our community.  On the first day of school, any person can watch as reluctant tiny, timid five year olds enter Mrs. Pocock’s classroom. One can also see terrified and equally reluctant parents leave their most precious assets at school.  Immediately, Mrs. Pocock works to develop strong relationships with every child and parent.  She fosters a love for school and a commitment to achieving the very best in all of her students and families.  By the end of Kindergarten, confident and comfortable six year olds and parents emerge from Mrs. Pocock’s classroom, ready to take on challenges school will offer in the coming years.  Mrs. Pocock provides her Kindergarten students and families with an excellent Kindergarten experience.  Many parents in the Andrews community were students of Mrs. Pocock as young children.  Parents have fond, long-lasting memories of Mrs. Pocock.  One family in particular made sacrifices to give their children the opportunity to experience Mrs. Pocock as a teacher. This family committed to driving 70 miles each day for their children to be part of the magic of Mrs. Pocock’s class.

Current Middle School mentors who work in Mrs. Pocock’s classroom vividly remember the time they spent in her classroom as Kindergarten students.  Upon entering her classroom to work our big, strong-willed, super-cool 8th graders transform back to smiling, innocent, young Kindergarten students.  Her influence and presence make all of those around her feel loved and supported.   

On any given day, walking into Mrs. Pocock’s classroom, one’s senses will be awakened.  Visitors can peruse her extensive classroom library as she plays the piano for her students.  Student artwork, writing work, and resources are hung around the room for all to enjoy.  Her room is one of magic that engages the heart and mind.   

Mrs. Pocock just completed her 27th year of teaching, 22 of which she has devoted tirelessly to the Andrews community.  Students, parents, and colleagues will continue to cherish all that we learn from our beloved Mrs. Pocock.
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Karla Sequeira - 2016
 

A former Whittier City School District student, Karla Sequeira is entering her eighteenth year in education.  Prior to Whittier City, she worked as a Behavioral Therapist and mental health issues and strategies continue to be an important focus, as evidenced by her involvement in PBIS and a Mental Health Cohort. 

Karla began teaching general education at Mill Elementary School and after four years, returned to her speech roots and became a Speech and Language Therapist for five years.  She has always had a passion for new challenges and for being a life-long learner.  She obtained an Education Specialist Credential and worked in the mild-moderate setting at Mill School & Technology Academy, Longfellow School, and now Dexter Middle School. 

Karla has worked in a variety of settings, grade levels, and engages students with creativity and passion.  Ms. Sequeira has always been active in school communities, teaching chorus and music appreciation, taking students around the community to perform at various events.  She was a Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching Fellow where she focused on music and literacy.  Technology is also another passion, as she works with her students introducing Web 2.0 tools to create technology portfolios.  Karla is a three-time recipient of the Whittier City School District Educational Foundation grant for implementing technology in the classroom. 

Karla has presented at Whittier College and in our district in the areas of literacy, behavior strategies, technology, and Special Education.  At Dexter Middle School, she has been part of Student Council, School Site Council, and PBIS.  She recently started an 80’s club for sixth grade students.  It was common to see Karla in “character” as her favorite 80’s icons.  Karla is a true team player and provides a wealth of knowledge to the school.  Congratulations Karla!!! 

 
 
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Yana Bogris - 2015
 

The Whittier City School District is very proud to announce that Yana Bogris has been named the 2015-16 Teacher of the Year. Yana started teaching in 2010 at Katherine Edwards Middle School and STEM Academy. She continues teaching math as she did from the very beginning. Yana is a fantastic teacher who is recognized for her dedication to student learning, casual demeanor, and wonderful rapport with students, parents, and staff.

Yana personifies the focus of a professional learning community that measures itself not solely in student success, but in what she does for those students who struggle to learn. Her classroom is a bastion of learning, where students feel personally, academically, and emotionally safe. As Mrs. Bogris makes herself available at all hours of the day, students feel free to use her open door policy to get help whenever they need it. More so, they realize their need to assistance and easily take ownership over their learning. Yana has built a culture of trust in her classroom.

If Mrs. Bogris limited herself to her classroom and her students, she would still be just as an exemplary teacher as she already is. Yet, Yana takes her consideration, dedication, and concern for students far beyond her classroom into the school site itself. She volunteers for PBIS Committee, Site Leadership Team, School Site Council, and acts as the defacto department chair. Yana is always willing to share her experience, knowledge, and ideas in positive ways.

Her concern for the site and her co-workers speaks to her belief that our responsibility to students goes beyond the classroom and into their entire day. Mrs. Borgis is one of those personalities that adds so much to a school site. Her casual professionalism, willingness to help, and commitment to her students makes her an indispensible part of the site. She is one of those staff members that makes Edwards the great site it is.

Reaching beyond the school site, Mrs. Bogris involves parents in a very direct way. Her availability allows for parents to go beyond involvement and into engagement. Parents learn to be an active part of their students learning through constant communication, and Yana’s careful explanation of the individual student needs. She quickly becomes a part of her student’s extended family by showing that she doesn’t just give grades, but is actually monitoring student growth and progress.

All of the traits mentioned above really express Yana’s love for her students, her profession, and for learning. This devotion makes difficult subjects such as Algebra not only easier to understand, but also enjoyable. Students know that when she has uncomfortable discussion with them about their needs, she does it out of respect and caring for their future. Students quickly understand her role in their lives and just as quickly buy into addressing their own needs.

Yana’s love for teaching is so very natural and a part of who she is, she was in a state of disbelief when recognized as the Whittier City School District Teacher of the Year. She is so knowledgeable, helpful, dedicated, and likeable that it was an “easy pick” to select her for this recognition. Luckily we are blessed to have her as a part of the Whittier City family for years to come.

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Kathy Anderson - 2014
 
 

The Whittier City School District is very proud to announce that Kathy Anderson has been named the 2014-15 Teacher of the Year. Kathy began her career 14 years ago at Hoover School of Fine Arts. She worked as a Kindergarten teacher, 3/4 and 2/3 grade combination teacher, and is currently teaching second grade. Kathy is an amazing teacher, and all who know her, from students, to parents, to staff, recognize what a “gem” of an educator she truly is!

Rita Pierson once wrote, “Every child deserves a champion - an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” Kathy has been that “champion” for hundreds of children throughout her career. Every year, every child, in every one of Ms. Anderson’s classes has become their best, because they had her by their side, insisting that they do so. She has the ability to make strong and lasting relationships with all of her students, and their parents.

Not only has Kathy been a “champion” for students, but she has been a “champion” staff member as well. “What I believe makes Ms. Anderson a remarkable teacher, is that she is constantly reflecting on her instructional practice, and always looking for ways to improve as an educator”, remarks Kay Oborn, Principal at Hoover School of Fine Arts. “Kathy is a leader on our staff, and is always willing to share her experience, knowledge, and passion with others. She is a highly respected staff member at Hoover.”

Ms. Anderson has taken on many leadership roles at the school site including curriculum development teams, lead teacher, school site council member, leadership team, and grade level leader. Kathy not only contributes to her direct grade level as an active member, but she collaborates and works with all of her colleagues.

Hoover has been blessed with Kathy’s talent and expertise, but so has the Whittier City School District. Kathy has served on numerous district committees, and she worked as a District Literacy Coach for 2 years. In addition, Kathy has trained several teachers around the state in Language Arts curriculums.

Most recently, Kathy had the opportunity to work with the Cotsen Foundation. She was a Cotsen fellow for two years, and went through an intensive learning and coaching experience, that is designed to make great educators even better. With her work through Cotsen, she has been able to bring Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop to Hoover, and is able to coach her colleagues in these new and innovative instructional practices.

Teaching is a partnership between the teacher, child, and parents. Ms. Anderson has always made it a point to involve the parents of her students in the education process. Sonia Chaidez, a parent of two of Ms. Anderson’s former students says this about her, “I have volunteered in her class and have seen how she both challenges and inspires her students to think deeply, problem solve from multiple perspectives, and communicate effectively. She forms partnerships with parents and frequently invites us into the classroom for hosted events that highlight our children’s projects and learning experiences. She leads by example and inspires parents as well as students to become partners in teaching and learning.”

Kathy loves learning, and loves to inspire learning in all of her students. “My family is stronger, my children are wiser, and have learned to love learning. Ms. Anderson will forever be in our hearts!”, says Dr. Irella Perez.

Ms. Anderson has a wonderful, warm and loving personality, and she is known by all to give the “best hugs ever.” She is always seen with a smile on her face, and all who come in contact with her, immediately feel her love and warmth.

Kathy was very humbled by her recognition, and wishes to thank all of her colleagues at her school site and at the district, as well of all the parents and students she has had the opportunity to know over the years of her career. She has felt truly blessed to be an educator with the Whittier City School District, and looks forward to many more wonderful years!!