Tag Archives: teachers

Teacher of the Year: Mrs. Savala-Lee

By: Orion

Mrs. Savala-Lee has been selected as teacher of the year, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with her to make conversation and discuss some questions I had for her.

How long have you been teaching at Glenn and in general?

“I started teaching in Norwalk-La Mirada in 1987 at Edmondson, I taught third grade for three years, then fifth grade for two years. And when Waite opened up as a middle school, I taught Eighth grade for three years. And in 1997, I came to Glenn to do a program called Puente, it was to help students get into college, it was like AVID but a little different ya know. So, I’ve been here since ‘97.”

Did you plan on becoming an English teacher or a teacher at all?

“No. I didn’t plan that, my major was liberal studies and while I was in liberal studies classes, I heard other people talk about what they were gonna do, and they talked about being a historian, a librarian, a lawyer, or a teacher. And none of those sounded good to me except a teacher, and I went and got a teacher’s aide job and I liked being in the classroom. And I got a substitute teaching job, and that’s when I realized that this is what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna be a teacher.”

What did you originally want to do?

“I think I just wanted to be a wife and a mom, an educated wife/mom, maybe go to a community college, take some art classes, ceramic, and just have a good/proper family. (Jokingly) And in the end I have no children, things don’t turn out the way you plan, ok.”

What are your alumni?

“Cal State Fullerton and Cyprus College”

Retirement plans/parties? 

“Throw parties, yes, I’ll have several. Small groups ya know I’ll have a special one with my teacher friends, one with my family, just friends from the past that don’t fit either group, but ya know I’m close to them. So ya I will celebrate. But as far as I’m going to tour the world or bucket list, I don’t have any, I am very content with staying at home, taking care of the house, making it pretty aesthetically beautiful.

I have my two dogs Violet and Olive (pictured, left), I wanna take care of them. I still have my mom, I can drive her to Mervyn’s/Kohls if she can’t, but yeah if someone invited me to Italy I would go. I like being athletic, workout, running, whatever comes my way I’ll make use of it or not.”

Hobbies? Goals?

“I wanna play the guitar, I bought one eight years ago when my husband passed away because I didn’t know what to do that summer. I thought I’d learn how to play but instead it’s been a piece of art hanging on my wall, no not here, at my house, and I look at it, I have music, it sometimes I pluck on it to have fun, I wanna do gardening in my yard, running, working, might even learn to bake some bread.”

How was online teaching for you? Would you do it again?

“I would only do it again if I had to, it was … terrible, I never knew if my students were with me, I couldn’t really see my students doing the work and I like to be watching them. I couldn’t do my spelling tests and that’s a big deal to me that kids know how to spell. I couldn’t teach cursive and that’s important to me that students know how to handwrite, I couldn’t be how I really wanted to be as a teacher, and I don’t think students really gained much from it and that bothers me too. So only if I have too.”

Are you hopeful for the future?

“For my own life I am very healthy and feel really good on how I lived my life up to this point, that I feel going into retirement, I still feel very young, even though my age says I’m old. But I think that’s what I’d recommend to everybody to take care of their health while they’re young and that way when the time comes you can be free from work and you’ll be able to enjoy whatever lifestyle you want. But as far as education goes, I don’t wanna say this to sound terrible, but it’s not what it used to be. I would love to see be 1987 again, I’m not crazy about the laptops and computers and all that, I think they’re good for one reason and they’re entertaining and fun, but in another way it’s made kids antisocial and too dependent on immediacy, I mean I dunno, I’m old fashioned.”

What do you think of all the dad joke posters around the school, do you know who does them?

“I love them, I think they’re great, I like clean humor, I think it’s more creative than dirty humor, and no I don’t know.”

Staff Spotlight for December: Mr. Johnny Brown

By Naidy Cuadras

Many students and staff at the school have had several questions about new Southeast Academy teacher Mr. Brown. Mr. Johnny Brown is an African-American man who was born and raised in California. He is a teacher at Southeast Academy and he teaches Academic Enrichment. He enjoys being active, listening to music, watching sports, and enjoys the company of his friends and traveling.

In an interview, Mr. Brown said, “To me being a successful teacher involves putting students first, having a desire to grow and evolve and the rest will fall into place.” After working with children in an after-school program, he decided to pursue a career as a teacher. His desire to work with children began there, and he chose to pursue a career as a teacher. He’s always been curious about what it’s like to teach in our district. He was thrilled when the chance arose.

Evan Patino, a cadet who has Mr. Brown as a teacher said, “He is very funny and kind. He knows different subjects and is really helpful. He takes the time to help each and every one of us and even asks the other teachers at the school for clarification.” Friendly, funny, respectful, outgoing, and resilient were some of the adjectives Mr. Brown used to characterize himself. Furthermore, Southeast offers structure and discipline, which he appreciates.

Master Sergeant Allard stated, “He is very professional and looks out for the cadets’ best interests. He is also very approachable and constantly interacts with other teachers.” Because the school is smaller, Mr. Brown feels a strong feeling of community among the Southeast staff and students. He’s impressed by the students’ interactions with one another and how respectful they are to the teachers and campus staff. The teachers he has come into contact with have been really friendly, approachable, and passionate about what they teach. Mr. Brown is a very good teacher that will help cadets grow at this school.

Senior Farewell: Thanking Impactful Teachers

By Monse Juarez

To Ms. Braun: 

First off, I would like to thank you for always having thoughtful conversations with me. I really learned a lot from you about what it’s like to be a responsible adult. I appreciate that you always took your time to make sure that your students were well-informed about college. Lastly, thank you for teaching me the importance of  hard work and diligence. 

To Ms. Walizadeh:

Thank you for taking the time to check up on your students and give them a place to engage in academic and philosophical discussions. The questions you asked us showed me that there is always more to discuss than what is on the surface. I really appreciate how you made us question things instead of simply accepting them. Lastly, thank you for the great books you suggested for us. I really enjoyed them and they helped me become a more attentive student. 

To Mr. Le:

I would like to thank Mr. Le for all of his hard work and his amazing dedication to his students. Thank you for all the time you have put into test corrections and for all the opportunities you have given us to learn. Thank you for all the memories from AP Chemistry my junior year. I never imagined such a hard class could be so fun, but you made it possible. 

P.S. I think I’m taller than you, Mr. Shortie.

To Ms. Johnson:

Thank you for always being a positive and encouraging teacher throughout my 4 years at Glenn. Thank you for showing your students how to be active members of the community in Norwalk. You have set the best example in community service. I appreciate your efforts in promoting the CSF club because the club has helped so many JGHS students get scholarships for college.

To Ms. Kennedy:

Ms. Kennedy I can’t tell you how much I missed you as a math teacher during my junior year. You are truly a great math teacher and role model for anyone that is lucky enough to have you as a teacher. I am grateful that I got to know you because your jokes are by far some of the best. Your banter with Rafa was priceless and I wish to become a great jokester like you one day. 

To Ms. Alcala:

Ms. Alcala, thank you for all the positive vibes that you give. I have never met such an optimistic teacher as yourself. It amazes me how you manage to keep such a vibrant attitude even when things aren’t going well. Thank you for showing me that it’s always better to keep a positive attitude. Your class has always been a great environment to learn in and I thank you for creating a place where students feel encouraged to pursue their dreams.

To Mr. Higgins: 

Mr. Higgins, I will never forget your amazing acting skills. I honestly believe that no other Hollywood actor could take your spot as Holden Caulfield. It is simply impossible. Thank you for making writing feel like a breezy thing to do. I’ve always felt that writing is tedious, but in your class I actually felt like I wasn’t such a bad writer (even though I probably am). Lastly, thank you for inspiring so much creativity in your students. It was a really fun experience and all the memories I made in your class are priceless for me.

To Ms. Garcia:

First off, I would like to thank you for being such an inspiring teacher and person overall. You are one of the most amazing women I have ever met in my life. I was really impressed with the changes in your career and how when you came to the United States you had to go to college all over again. Thank you for making me into the most responsible and hardworking person I could be. There are so many lessons that I learned from you and I am grateful that you always pushed me to do my absolute best in your class. 

To Ms. Frazier:

Ms. Frazier, I really missed your class after my freshman year because I didn’t have you as a teacher anymore. You are such a great teacher and I really had the most fun doing sports in your class. Thank you for always being an encouraging person. I’ve always enjoyed talking to you because you’re a very kind and understanding person. Thank you for all the fun memories!

To Mr. Barr: 

Mr. Barr, thank you for always being a cool history teacher. I always enjoyed your sarcastic remarks in class even when other students in the class didn’t quite catch on. Thank you for always making us participate in AP Human Geography even though we were severely antisocial. Lastly, thank you for always teaching us about practical things like credit scores because it was the first time most of us realized that we didn’t actually want to grow up.