TALB Honored Retirees 2015-16

Congratulations to this year's honored retirees at the TALB Unity Celebration banquet on June 10, 2016!

Murlyn Burkes
Bryant Elementary
Subjects: Aphasia class, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing class, Special Education
Grades: Preschool through 8th

LBUSD 35.9 yrs. Total: 37.9 yrs.

Memorable experience:

One of the most rewarding experiences that I have had as an educator has been to be a leader of the Speech and Language Program for the district. I learned to work with many individuals and various programs. I learned how to assist new teachers in the classroom with activities and discipline.

Reflections:

I learned that I really did have one of the best jobs on earth! I learned that working with children is the most important job there is except parenting. I learned patience is the best virtue and that as a teacher, you need to come to work prepared and leave your worries at home. I learned that we all have choices in life and I made the best choice for me to be the very best Speech Pathologist and teacher for 37 years!


Laurie Christmas
Bryant Elementary
Grades: 1 - 4

LBUSD: 30 yrs. Total: 35 yrs.

Memorable experience:  None provided.

Reflections:  None provided.


Debra Davis-Garriott
Lincoln Elementary
Grades: K-8th, 9th-12th high school
LBUSD: 36 yrs. Total: 36 yrs.

Memorable experience: 

In 1991, I was fortunate to be offered a position in the Department of Special Education. My first assignment was to assist in the education of a high school student with autism. Because of his advanced academic skills, he attended CAMS. He was experiencing social challenges that were foreign to the staff and his ability to communicate his anxiety and concerns were also limiting his successful attendance. As I watched my student struggle, I found my place in education. I was hooked. From 1991 to the present, I have, in all my positions, worked tirelessly for students K – college level, as an advocate for inclusive education. I am forever grateful that I was chosen from general education to join the District team of special ed personnel who dedicated their passion for students who learn differently. I am honored to this day.

Reflections:

(1) Always remember that children, not adults, come First. (2) Remember to include parents in the educational process. (3) NEVER label a child – always refer to their learning level. (4) Feel the urgency to teach every single minute of the day.


Andrea Edison
Lafayette Elementary
Grades: Kindergarten through 3rd grade
LBUSD: 34 yrs. Total: 36 yrs.

Memorable experience:

My goal was always to be a positive influence in the academic and social development of my students. One year, I received a letter from a former student who was preparing for high school graduation. He had written a thank you letter to his second grade teacher. He remembered that I had always held him accountable for his academic and personal behaviors. Also, I sometimes made him laugh. This was memorable because it was the year he transferred into my class after the death of his mother.

Reflections:

I have learned that most students respond to consistency, fairness, and respect. When such an environment is fostered, students will rise to meet the challenges. Sometimes, you have to set the curriculum aside and approach a child on a personal level in order to achieve measurable growth.


Pat Estes Jr.
Jordan High School
Subjects: Self-contained class, Math, PE, AVID
Grades: 4th through 11th

LBUSD: 31 yrs. Total: 37 yrs.

Memorable experience:

Hearing back from former students, that my teaching, helped inspire them to do well and be successful. They would share what they remember, often times it was the fun times we had out at P.E.

Reflections:

I have learned to always be humble and thankful for what I have and that our words can truly encourage and inspire.


Wilma Ferguson
Hamilton Middle School
Subjects: Health and Physical Education
Grades: Elementary, Middle, and High School

LBUSD: 35 yrs. Total: 45 yrs.

Memorable experience:

The most memorable or rewarding experience I have had as an educator is my leadership with Triangle of Caring Program in Long Beach. This was a five-year home, school, community partnership building community, character, commitment and connections for students. Everyone worked together to help students make positive choices for academics and behavioral expectations.

Reflections:

After teaching in Maryland, Michigan, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and California during my career in education, I have learned specifics for student learning across our country. For me, it is about the connections one makes with each student and their parent. It is this connection and my expectations for each student that gives them the confidence to be successful!


Orlando Hardy
Lindbergh Middle School
Subjects: Language Arts, Math, Science
Grades:  2nd through 8th

LBUSD: 17 yrs. Total: 24 yrs.

Memorable experience:

There have been many memorable experiences. However, what will forever be etched in my mind is how a student's facial expression was when he or she mastered a particular concept that they had been struggling to understand. That is truly priceless. During my career I have been blessed to have seen a countless number of students with that expression.

Reflections:

1) Don't take myself too seriously.  2) RESPECT and a genuine sense of care goes a long way in building classroom and school communities.


Esther Hernandez
Garfield Head Start
Grades: Elementary (in Mexico), Preschool
LBUSD: 26 yrs. Total: 39 yrs.

Memorable experience:

My most rewarding experience was when a new co-worker came to me and thanked me for the encouragement I gave her to go back to school while her child was enrolling in my class. She was a parent volunteer. I saw a potential in her while she was working with the children in my classroom. Now she is one of the teachers in Head Start with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education.

Reflections:

One of the most important things that I learned working with young children is to be able to empower the parent and to encourage them to be their child's first teacher. I learned to be a facilitator. One of my main goals was to get children socially, emotionally, and academically ready for school. I learned that what children really need is to feel loved and to have a sense of fair treatment and understanding from the people around them. It's important to teach children the importance of being responsible citizens aside from being academically ready. Children need to be socially and emotionally ready to be productive citizens in our society.


Kathryn King
Lakewood High School
Subjects/Grades: 9th through 12th, RSP
LBUSD: 15 yrs. Total: 15 yrs.

Memorable experience:

Being an RSP teacher has been an amazing journey and I’m grateful for all the friendships that have come my way!

Reflections:

(1) Be patient and give others “think time.” (2) Some of the people you may not get along with at first may actually become dear friends!


Laura Kusaba
Stanford Middle School
Subjects: Self-contained class, English
Grades: 4th, 6th through 8th

LBUSD: 29 yrs. Total: 32 yrs.

Memorable experience:

I enjoy helping students find confidence in themselves that they can be successful in English class. There's nothing more rewarding that seeing a student start to raise his/her hand more often in class, offer to share his/her writing out loud, and believe in him/herself as readers and writers who have something of value to contribute to the class.

A colleague of mine told me a student we both have shared with her, "Mrs. Kusaba breaks everything down so it's easy for me to understand." This colleague wanted to come observe me teaching so she could see what I was doing and then apply it to her own lessons." The funny part was, the other teacher couldn't remember which student said that to her. I still don't know, but it doesn't matter. What I'm doing in the classroom makes a difference for students. That's more important than anything else.

Reflections:

I've learned that moving students forward and helping them feel successful is more important than following a pacing guide. I've learned how to layer skills and strategies so that students aren't overwhelmed, but are still challenged to improve their own thinking and writing skills one step at a time. Modeling, scaffolding, encouraging them, acknowledging their successes no matter how small, and letting them know I believe in their ability to learn and improve is what teaching is really all about. If I do my job well, they don't need me anymore. They can fly on their own, confident in their ability to succeed.


Kathleen Laverty
Franklin Middle School
Subjects: Science, History, Math, Language Arts, Self-contained class
Grades: 4th through 6th
LBUSD: 18 yrs. Total: 23 yrs.

Memorable experience:

I don't have just one, but many times when I see "the lightbulb" go off, then I get excited for my students!! Many come back to visit me, and tell me how much they miss me, and that I was their favorite teacher! That is very rewarding to hear.

I've had many students visit me when they are young adults, and tell me how much they loved my class, and me!! It is very rewarding to hear this, because as teacher's we don't always get the acknowledgment that we "make a difference."

Reflections:

That you need a lot of patience, skill, and planning to accomplish your everyday goal of reaching most students. I've also learned that I can't reach all students, all of the time. That doesn't mean that I gave up; just that I am looking at teaching realistically.

That I can also learn many new things from my students, not just them learning from me!


Susan Lenahan
Carver Elementary School
Grades/Subjects: 1st through 5th and Reading Recovery
LBUSD: 38 yrs. Total: 38 yrs.

Memorable experience: 

As a Reading Recovery teacher, it was wonderful to watch the lowest first graders go from non-readers to readers.

Reflections: 

Even with all the changes I have seen in education, I would still choose to be a teacher.


Marie Lutz
Colin Powell Academy
Subject: Physical Education
Grades: 6th through 8th
LBUSD: 17 yrs. Total: 32 yrs.

Memorable experience:

During my very first year of teaching I was coaching the girls’ volleyball team outside after school. A young man had jumped the fence and was holding a gun pointed at me! I don't know how I did it but I talked him into giving me the gun which he did. It was real! The next thing I knew was that the football coach was reading him the riot act, gave him back the gun and off he went. I was told by the coach that I did not need that kind of trouble in my young career! Ha! Needless to say, I moved on from that district the following year! I did leave behind some wonderful students whom I connected with some years later and see to this day!

Reflections:

Sometimes our jobs are frustrating and we do not always feel that we have impacted our students. However, years later when I have come across some of these students, who are now adults, I am pleasantly surprised to see that they did indeed "get it." Sometimes the rewards of our job come years later - if we are so lucky as to reconnect with these students after they have grown, matured and had some life experiences.


Kaj Malmsten
McKinley Elementary School
Grades: preschool, 3rd, 4th, K-5 as a teacher librarian
LBUSD: 34 yrs. Total: 42 yrs.

Memorable experience: 

Finishing my first year as a 3rd grade teacher was such a positive experience that I decided that this was what I wanted to do. I also had a very positive experience as a 4th grade teacher at U.S. Grant Elementary, we were quite a group, all grade levels.

Reflections: 

That children are very honest with their feelings and you have to be ready to handle them, positive or negative.


Steven Marion
Wilson High School

Subjects/Grades: (LBUSD 1986-2016) 7-9th English; 7-9th Media Arts, 7th Health, 7-12th Algebra 1-2, 9-12th Geometry, Spanish 1-2 & 3-4, 7-12th Physical Education; Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Surfing, Surfing and Gymnastics Varsity and Junior Varsity Teams, Junior Varsity Tennis Teams.

(CSULB 1980-1986) Gymnastics Activity Courses, Couples Disco Dancing, Aerobic Dance, Low Impact Aerobics, Weight Training, started the Springboard Diving Activity Class, Racquetball, Individualized Fitness and Conditioning, Techniques and Analysis of Gymnastics for KPE Majors

LBUSD: 30 yrs. Total: 38 yrs.

Memorable experience:

There are two things that come to mind: After 9 years of trying and failing, I was able to get my design for the Surfing program approved and implemented in the LBUSD. The funny or ironic thing is that it wasn't my 9 years of hard work, nor my great design and curriculum, nor my iron will not to quit or give up; rather, it was the community activism orchestrated by the first women's world surfing champion who was also a parent of LBUSD/Wilson High School students, Jericho Poplar-Bartlow, that got the program started.

The second is the time when I stood with a group of parents, teachers, ex-student gymnasts, and current gymnastics families to keep Gymnastics programs alive in Long Beach high schools.

Reflections:

You have to be patient and forgive as you want to be forgiven; because, as you get older, you realize you make the same mistakes yourself. Thank you for the opportunity to grow and continue.


Jane Mort
Bryant Elementary School
Grades: Kindergarten, 1st grade
LBUSD: 29 yrs. Total: 29 yrs.

Memorable experience:  None provided.

Reflections: None provided.


Clarice Penaranda
Cubberley School
Subjects: Special Day Class, Mild Moderate-Communication, and Mild Moderate
Grades: Transitional Kinder, Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3
LBUSD: 35 yrs. Total: 36 yrs.

Memorable experience:

Memorable moments include the laughter of children, enjoying their young singing voices, working and laughing with friends.

Reflections:

Don't assume anything; patience, patience, patience with students AND parents. Friends at work are the BEST. Friends at work are there for you during the good times and the hard times. Friends at work are there for you at every curve in the road. I made it through all these years with friends at work.  I couldn't have done it without them.


Ozella Presley
Beach High School
Subjects/Grades: Adult School, 4th – 12th grade, alternative education 6-12th grades
LBUSD: 36 yrs. Total: 40 yrs.

Memorable experience:

In the 80’s, I worked with some remarkable teachers at Prisk Elementary School. One thing they taught me was to always be flexible in my style of teaching and that is how I survived teaching for 36 years with LBUSD.

Reflections:

“Life is not a rehearsal.” What you do today you will never do it again. So I made sure my students receive the best education from me.


Caridad Rivera
Robinson Academy
Subjects/Grades: Kindergarten, 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and cosmetology to high school students and adults.
LBUSD: 22 yrs. Total: 35 yrs.

Memorable experience:

I have a couple of rewarding experiences. The first one is when my high school students graduated from high school with a trade and were already licensed to work in a salon. For many this served as a springboard as it financed their college education. The second experience was the trips I organized to Sacramento with my fourth graders and Washington DC with middle school students, especially the trip in July 2001 right before the 911 attack. The students were able to see and experience places and events they read about in their textbooks.

Reflections:

One of my user names is Foreverlearning. I came up with this name because as a teacher that is exactly what I have done. I took advantage of every situation in my classroom to learn new things whether it was from the curriculum or the students. By opening my eyes and ears the students taught me SO much like doing things differently or looking at situations from different perspectives not to mention lessons we don't find in textbooks. Long Beach is so diverse I learned lessons like cultural customs, and a variety of non-verbal language. Learning never ends!


Dr. Monica Rogerson
Carver Elementary School
Subject: Adapted P.E., Physical Education
LBUSD: 28 yrs. Total: 35 yrs.

Memorable experience:

My most rewarding experiences as an educator have come from trying to make a difference with my students every day. I have also been blessed to have had the opportunities to offer many gratifying events to my students outside our regular classes. Intramural basketball and volleyball tournaments, bowling at the CSULB student union, Special Olympics track and field meets, and 28 annual Golf Clinics at Skylinks have been memorable and rewarding for me as well as my students. Being a teacher also opened the door to many other interesting and fulfilling endeavors. Serving on the TALB Executive Board, CTA State Council, CTA Special Education Committee, TALB Special Education Task Force, Carver Shared Decision/Leadership Team, and other TALB and District committees have resulted in many amazing experiences, relationships, and chances to learn and grow I am immensely grateful to have had these opportunities.

Reflections:

Teaching is a profession that provides great opportunities to learn from students, parents, colleagues, and experiences. I can honestly say I have learned something new each day of my teaching career. My life has been immensely enriched by what I have learned about people, relationships, my profession, and myself during my 28 years in LBUSD, and 35 years of teaching. I believe this knowledge will greatly assist me as I open the next chapter of my life.


Fedelina Sacro
McKinley Head Start
Subjects/Grades: Preschool
LBUSD: 20yrs. Total: 20 yrs.

Memorable experience:

After a few years when their children leave Head Start, parents come to me saying that their son/daughter is one of the best in school and they thank me for being his/her teacher. This is my greatest reward as an educator.

Reflections:

Children are the best things that happen to me. I believe the quote "Childhood is short and maturity is forever."