The Los Angeles Dodgers will present their Community Hero Award to the three 2019 California Teachers of the Year from the Southland before Tuesday night's game at Dodger Stadium against the Atlanta Braves to coincide with Teacher Appreciation Night.
Kim Holz is a fourth-grade teacher at Opal Robinson Elementary School in Manhattan Beach, Michael Henges is a 12th-grade government and economics teacher at Redondo Union High School and Angel Mejico is a seventh- and eighth-grade art teacher at El Cerrito Middle School in Corona.
"Although teaching is an ever-changing profession, molded each year by the students with whom we have the honor of instructing, there are some salient threads at the core of my practice,'' said Holz, who has been teaching for 38 years, 21 years in her current position. "Sensitivity, humor, reinforcement, motivation, practice, exploration, inquiry, and discovery are common threads that weave in and out throughout my day."
Holz is also a positive behavior intervention and support site leader.
"I could think of no one more knowledgeable and influential to help our district make the shift toward California Common Core Standards in English Language Arts," said Katherine Whittaker Stopp, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District's assistant superintendent of education services. "She supported a new crop of young teachers on their journey as educators by sharing her understanding of each component of balanced literacy. Her peers made great growth as a result of her tutelage."
Whittaker Stopp also described Holz as "a consummate educator of history-social studies."
"In all my years, I've seen no one create learning energy around it like Kim," Whittaker Stopp said.
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Henges has been teaching for 11 years, seven in his current position. He is also a mock trial coach, Social Studies Department co-chair and lead instructional technology teacher.
Students are seated in groups of four in Henges' classroom in an effort to both increase collaboration and help with informal efforts to see if they need any help.
"Over the years, I have come to realize that good teaching is similar to a good recipe," Henges said. "There are a lot of different ingredients that make a unit or lesson plan come together, but it is not always obvious why it works. My teaching philosophy has been one of continual experimentation and humility when it does not go the way you want. The nice thing about taking risks in the classroom is that eventually you will stumble upon some great recipes."
Mejico has been teaching for 15 years, five at El Cerrito Middle School. She realized she wanted to be a teacher during medical school.
"I immerse students in technology -- cinematography, animatronics, projection mapping, light boards," Mejico said. "Art opens their eyes to alternative world views. It explodes in them, goading them to be great in everything they do using new ways to do it. I teach the child, not just art. Art is the path to introduce life skills."