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L.A. Clippers Teacher Appreciation Nights

The LA Clippers Teacher Appreciation Program, presented by CarMax, recognizes outstanding teachers for their hard work and dedication. Schools that participate in the Clippers education outreach program, Read to Achieve, nominate teachers to be honored as part of this special program. Each nominated teacher will be recognized in an on-court presentation prior to a Clippers home game this season.

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2015-16 Honorees

Community Photos

Maria Acker

Tom Bradley Global Awareness Magnet

Kindergarten

Honored: Nov. 29th, Clippers vs. Timberwolves


How long have you been an educator?
30 Years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is to act as a facilitator allowing young learners' natural curiosity to direct his/her own learning.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Believe in yourself! Stay focused on whatever you want to do in life. Don't doubt in the ability you have to learn and succeed.

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Gabriel Alvarez

Mark Twain Middle School

7th Grade

Honored: Nov. 29th, Clippers vs. Timberwolves


How long have you been an educator?
13 Years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is seeing the child's face light up when they finally understand the concept and being so proud that they begin explaining it to others

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? My advice to young Clipper fans is to stay in school and get a proper education because it is the cornerstone for their future. It builds confidence, communication skills and the understanding of numbers so that you can manage your finances properly.

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Pete Keuper

San Miguel Elementary School

Honored: Nov. 29th, Clippers vs. Timberwolves


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Joy Burton

Sutter Middle School

7th Grade Science and Health

Honored: Dec. 5th, Clippers vs. Magic


How long have you been an educator?
40 Years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? I cherish the opportunities to shape, equip and prepare young people to be productive citizens, who will be capable one day of running our country. I appreciate the opportunities to make lasting and positive impacts on my students and the community in which I work. As an educator it gives purpose to my life and reflects who I am.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Young Clipper fans, just like many others before you, they have come to realize that one’s education is the root and heart of all success! Therefore, dream big, think critically, stay in school, be patient with yourself and be intentional with your life. Become a lifelong learner and you will have no regrets.

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Joni Clark

Cleveland Elementary School

Honored: Dec. 5th, Clippers vs. Magic


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Patricia Garibay

Hollenbeck Middle School

8th grade/Math

Honored: Dec. 5th, Clippers vs. Magic


How long have you been an educator?
20 Years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is trying new things every year and having the opportunity to make an impact in students' lives.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Having a good education opens many doors and brings new experiences. Find someone to mentor you and support you if you struggle, but don't give up.

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Sarine Gureghian

Edison Elementary School

6th grade

Honored: Dec. 5th, Clippers vs. Magic


How long have you been an educator?
20 Years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? The KIDS - they are all so great and unpredictable that I'm always on my toes!

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Always be passionate in anything that you do. Passion is what keeps you going.

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Lisa Menell

Enadia-TEC Elementary

4th grade – all subjects

Honored: Dec. 5th, Clippers vs. Magic


How long have you been an educator?
12 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is that it also makes me a lifelong learner. I learn new things everyday from my students, my students’ parents, my colleagues, books, and professional trainings. Learning keeps you tolerant, active, and challenged.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Education affords opportunities, and it is never too early to prepare for getting into a good college. You need to be well-rounded so read, write, practice those basic math facts, paint, and yes, go outside, and play some basketball.

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Stacy Orosco

William Jefferson Clinton Middle School

6th Grade English Language Arts

Honored: Dec. 5th, Clippers vs. Magic


How long have you been an educator?
11 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part is building relationships with my students so I can tap into their greatest potential.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is the key that opens the door and unlocks the chains to your best life. It helps you to think and dream bigger, aspire longer, and create a vision for your life. Develop a positive attitude and don't be afraid to work hard. You will succeed!

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Chetan Singh

School Hale Charter Academy

6th Grade Math/ 7th & 8th Grade Leadership/ASB

Honored: Dec. 5th, Clippers vs. Magic


How long have you been an educator?
12 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is the relationships I form with my students. Watching them grow academically as well as intellectually is easily one of the best aspects of my job.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? My advice would be to dedicate yourself to be a lifelong learner.

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Christopher Chaidez

Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School

7th & 8th grade

Honored: Jan. 2nd, Clippers vs. 76ers


How long have you been an educator?
2 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? Being able to make a difference in students lives. Seeing them have the "Eureka!" effect of the "aHA!" moment

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Continue your education no matter what happens to you, no matter what gets in the way or what you hear.

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Adan Gonzalez

186th Street School

4th grade

Honored: Jan. 2nd, Clippers vs. 76res


How long have you been an educator?
10 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? I have many favorite parts of being an educator. But, I really get inspired each time I hear a student say, "I get it Mr. Gonzalez!"

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? My advice to a young Clippers fan is this: "Use basketball to exercise your body, and education to exercise your mind!'"

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Miguel Najera

Ann Street Elementary

1st Grade

Honored: Jan. 2nd, Clippers vs. 76ers


How long have you been an educator?
5 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is when my students are able to have an “aha” moment as they are able to make connections and implement it in their daily life.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Stay in school and learn something new every day. Stay focused and on task to reach your highest potential and ultimately, your endeavors.

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Christian Reed

Figueroa Street Elementary

5th Grade

Honored: Jan. 2nd, Clippers vs. 76ers


How long have you been an educator?
14 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is supporting students in order for them to reach their full potential. Seeing them connect the dots of learning and applying what they have learned to help solve problems is another satisfying part of my work.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Be persistent. It's okay to make mistakes because it shows you are trying. Your hard work and effort will pay off.

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Hixcell Wester

Young Oak Kim Academy

6th - 8th Grade

Honored: Jan. 2nd, Clippers vs. 76ers


How long have you been an educator?
10 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is building relationships with young people. I enjoy being an adult in their lives that they feel comfortable around, that dishes out praise and discipline, that they work hard for. I also love putting on events and activities that they enjoy and watching them laugh and have fun.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? I suppose my advice is that the right education largely increases their chances for a good career in a field they love. What they choose to do for a living, should be their CHOICE. And choices are limited without an education.

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Celina Amoyo

N.E.W Academy Canoga Park

Honored: Jan. 13th, Clippers vs. Heat


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Robin Brown

Richard E. Byrd Middle School

6th - 8th Grade

Honored: Jan. 13th, Clippers vs. Heat


How long have you been an educator?
10 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being as educator is when students light up and shine when they finally understand a concept being taught and they can relate it to their own lives.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is tool that can help students create possibilities, envision their dreams,allow for self discovery, teach tolerance for others, and help build a persons character, so they can achieve their unique self.

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Angela Lopez

112th St Elementary

K - 2nd Grade

Honored: Jan. 13th, Clippers vs. Heat


How long have you been an educator?
5 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? Helping parents understand their children and developing positive relationships between parent and child.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Education, like many things in life, will give you what you put in. If you work hard and set high goals your rewards will be greater than if you just do enough to pass.

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Alina Maleski

Bell Gardens Elementary School

3rd Grade

Honored: Jan. 13th, Clippers vs. Heat


How long have you been an educator?
27 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is witnessing the awesome flourishing of student's God given talents. I am humbled, grateful and honored to be a part of this momentous endeavor.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Young Clippers fans, you are important. You matter. You are a treasure! Be inspired by the potential you sense within you. Read, learn, make good choices, and strive through seizing every educational opportunity, and living a wholesome life, to develop into the unique person you were created to be.

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Todd Miller

Stauffer MS

6th - 8th Grade Band

Honored: Jan. 13th, Clippers vs. Heat


How long have you been an educator?
29 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? Watching students achieve far beyond what they thought possible.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? It is the key to future success and connections in the adult world.

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Stephanie Hunter

Napa Street Elementary

3rd Grade

Honored: Jan. 16th, Clippers vs. Kings


How long have you been an educator?
19 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part is seeing the relative change in academic and emotional development (progress) of my students.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? I believe education improves overall health, earning potential, and citizenship.

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Susan Kim

Charles Maclay Middle School

8th Grade

Honored: Jan. 16th, Clippers vs. Kings


How long have you been an educator?
4 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? The ability to connect, teach and form relationships/understandings with others on a daily basis.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? I truly believe in hard work, commitment, confidence, and resilience; no matter your circumstance I truly hope you can see education as something that can set you free to become hard-working, committed, confident and resilient for something you feel passionate about. FIGHT ON!

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Kelly Spector

N.E.W Academy Canoga Park

Honored: Jan. 16th, Clippers vs. Kings


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Jessica Kopp

Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet

4th grade

Honored: Jan. 16th, Clippers vs. Kings


How long have you been an educator?
14 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? As a teacher, I get to continue to learn from my students everyday.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Read! Read! Read! Find a topic that interests you and check out books from the library. Read quietly and read aloud to members of your family. Just don't stop reading.

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Maria Rodriguez

Almanecer Primary Center

Transitional Kindergarten

Honored: Jan. 16th, Clippers vs. Kings


How long have you been an educator?
11 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My Favorite part of being an educator is to be able to impact and make a difference in the lives of others.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is the best weapon to fight ignorance. It will certainly open a lot of doors for a better future. Pursue your dreams, find a solution to every obstacle and eventually you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Persevere!

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Rosa DeLaPortilla

Cienega Elementary

4th Grade

Honored: Feb. 3rd, Clippers vs. Timberwolves


How long have you been an educator?
18 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is seeing joy and excitement in my students when they are learning and making new discoveries.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is important because it is a significant aspect of our well being. It is food for the soul. We are all naturally curious and inquisitive. Through education we satisfy those natural tendencies and allow ourselves to continuously thrive and grow.

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Martha Galvez

Griffin Anenue School

3rd Grade

Honored: Feb. 24th, Clippers vs. Nuggets


How long have you been an educator?
25 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? In the classroom, I love it when the students are totally immersed in a lesson. They get so excited that they don’t want it to end. I love seeing their bright eyes and happy smiles. It’s like magic!

Being an educator for twenty-five years at the same school has truly been a blessing and has allowed me to keep in touch with former students. I love hearing about their lives and their successes. I even had the privilege of seeing a former third grader graduate from the Air Force Academy!

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? My advice is the following: Dream big! Use education as the means to your dream. We live in the greatest country…..a country that offers us endless opportunities. All you have to do is dream, believe in your dream, and work really hard in school every day. It is through education that you will reach your dream. I did, and you can, too!

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Marc Iniguez

Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School

4th Grade

Honored: Feb. 24th, Clippers vs. Nuggets


How long have you been an educator?
5 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is shaping the life of young children. I enjoy helping children achieve their goals.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Education will provide you with many opportunities that will lead you to a successful future.

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Kelly Dixon

Thurgood Marshall

1st Grade

Honored: Mar. 24th, Clippers vs. Trail Blazers


How long have you been an educator?
19 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being a teacher is when my students have "light bulb" moments. Their eyes sparkle with pride when they have mastered a new concept.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? People can steal any material belongings but no one can steal your education!

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Jennie Jung-Choy

Logan Span School

Kindergarden

Honored: Mar. 24th, Clippers vs. Trail Blazers


How long have you been an educator?
30 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? Being able to inspire the children in my class to learn and then being able to witness the amazing academic and social growth of the students from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Every day is an opportunity to learn something. Seize that opportunity.

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Heidi VanKooten

Luther Burbank Middle School

7th Grade

Honored: Mar. 24th, Clippers vs. Trail Blazers


How long have you been an educator?
5 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part about being an educator is watching this age group grow to realize they can develop their own thoughts, opinions and worldviews based on what they learn and who they’re becoming at this age. Each year, I watch a unique switch go off in my students the moment they realize they can do this. It’s incredibly inspiring to be a part of this pivotal moment, and a privilege helping develop the skills they’ll need to hone these new ideas.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Much like sports – education teaches you perseverance in the face of adversity and challenge. I encourage Clippers fans to commit to education to help them learn this skill. Keep persevering through difficulties. The score doesn’t matter at half time; it only matters at the end of the game.

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Felicia Akuamoah

Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy

7th Grade

Honored: Mar. 27th, Clippers vs. Nuggets


How long have you been an educator?
12 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? Each day I get to see the world through the eyes of many. In this gift I am not only allowed endless opportunities to become a better person, but also be a change agent. Seeing change is unforgettable. Being change...PRICELESS

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? We all have dreams, but sometimes they can get lost in tradition, conditions and ignorance. Education not only offers endless knowledge, but it shapes your perspective on the world, clarifies your perception of self and creatively guides you through life with a sense of purpose and awareness. It's an amazing tool for defining who you are and creating who you want to be.

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Gianiny Alulema

Ramona Elementary

TK - 1st Grade

Honored: Mar. 27th, Clippers vs. Nuggets


How long have you been an educator?
2 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? I love teaching young ones because they are filled with curiosity and wonder regarding how the world works. Kindergarten and First grade are years of growing socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually and I love being a part of that stage in their lives.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? I would say that all the effort and work you put into your education does make a difference in your future. I was able to find a job as soon as I graduated from College because I had a very good educational background and I never let time pass. I was in school since I was 5 years old until the age of 22 and even if it felt like forever, it actually went by really fast. All you need is a goal and a lot of determination.

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Grant Schippert

Thomas Alva Edison Middle

6th - 8th Grade

Honored: Mar. 27th, Clippers vs. Nuggets


How long have you been an educator?
22 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is when a student struggles through a concept and finally discovers what they are looking for. Success.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is a life long process. The more education you get, the stronger and more successful you will be.

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Cyrene St. Amant

Maple PC

1st Grade

Honored: Mar. 27th, Clippers vs. Nuggets


How long have you been an educator?
26 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of teaching is seeing the light in a child's eyes when she has discovered something for herself.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? I would say that education is important because it is the key to opening up life's unlimited possibilities; with out an education those possibilities shrink.

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Crystal Wai

Egremont

2nd Grade

Honored: Mar. 27th, Clippers vs. Nuggets


How long have you been an educator?
8 years

What is your favorite part of being an educator? My favorite part of being an educator is getting students excited about learning and sparking a fire that will hopefully last them a lifetime.

What word of advice would you give young Clippers fans in regards to the importance of education? No matter who you are or what you become, whether it's a basketball player, a doctor, or the president, a good education teaches you valuable work habits and gives you knowledge you can apply to any field your heart desires.

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