Reflection, Gratitude, and Humor
The ART of TEACHING celebrated its annual culmination once again at the Skirball Art and Cultural Center on May 6th where 69 mentors and fellows were honored for their successful completion of the two-year fellowship.
Following remarks by Executive Director Jerry Harris, Dr. Uri D.Herscher, president of the Skirball, gave a warm welcome to fellows, mentors, alumni and administrators attending.
Called to the speakers’ table, the six fellows, current mentor, alumna mentor, and Cotsen principal took their places and prepared to speak about their journey in the ART of TEACHING.
Jan Glusac, from Culver City, started the program and attested to witnessing “my class absolutely fall head over heels in love with math.”
Valerie Sandowicz, El Segundo fellow, described the experiences that the fellowship provided through “the best professional development, giving teachers the opportunity to learn side by side with experts”.
Fellow Nikki Mahar of Fullerton gave thanks to her mentor and to the ART of TEACHING for providing “us with a mirror” that allowed for reflection to improve practice.
Tustin’s Joseph Baran provided humor, eliciting laughter from the crowd as he drew on Disney’s “Finding Nemo” to frame his talk. Especially amusing was the comparison of his mentor and colleagues to the film’s sea turtles who were in the habit of tossing a fellow creature in need of support onto their backs.
Wiseburn’s Lorrie Cariaga compared taking up running to pursuing math as her focus, claiming “Here is what I learned-If you fall in love with the process, the results will come.”
When Valeri Neri Muñoz of Los Angeles Unified stepped to the lectern, she gave an account of all the Cotsen “tools” she acquired to confront the “powerful wind’ of the Common Core.
Speaking on behalf of the mentors, Michelle Baldonado, also from Los Angeles, stated “What this fellowship has provided for teachers and students can not be recorded through assessments, rubrics, and black and white data. It speaks to the heart and creates relationships. And really does exude magic,”
Alumna Mentor Anne Rogers from the Class of 2010 in Fountain Valley noted the ongoing connection with the ART of TEACHING and the support it provided her and her fellows in their determination to sustain the work begun during the fellowship.
Los Angeles Principal Andrew Jenkins made the final remarks of the program continuing a theme of gratitude to the Cotsens . He eloquently expressed his thanks to Lloyd and Margit Cotsen. Addressing them, Principal Jenkins noted, “You have restored our faith in the institutions that support education because you honor us as professionals and scholars charged with the most important work in our society.”
Concluding the program, Mrs. Margit Cotsen came to the lectern and thanked Executive Director Jerry Harris, his staff, and the graduates for the response to her husband’s vision of helping good teachers to become excellent.
With her remarks signally the end of the program, newly minted alumni received their certificates and joined the guests for a festive lunch, conversation, and a lot of picture taking.
Check out the photo album on Flickr:
Watch video clips from the Skirball: