The California state superintendent on Friday named Santee High School math and engineering teacher Tiffany Lynn Jokerst as one of the state’s five teacher of the year.

Jokerst, who taught for 15 years, leads math and engineering classes at West Hills High School in Santee, in the Grossmont Union High School District. She graduated from Monte Vista High School in Grossmont and received her undergraduate degree from San Diego State University.

Jokerst wanted to become a teacher because school was her refuge growing up, she wrote in her teacher of the year application. During her first month of kindergarten, Jokerst’s mother, who struggled with drug addiction, was taken to a mental hospital after a psychotic episode, Jokerst wrote.

Meanwhile, Jokerst’s kindergarten teacher was a source of stability and showed patience and kindness. Jokerst wanted to be a mentor, role model and friend to the students, as were his teachers, she wrote.

In Grossmont, Jokerst said she helped launch a new engineering program at her school and reinvent the way the district teaches math.

“The greatest reward in teaching is seeing students go from worried math students who have built negative math identities in their educational experience to optimistic learners who are confident in their math skills,” Jokerst wrote. “I have seen many students start the year by calling themselves ‘math haters’ and then end the year admitting that they really enjoy math. “

In its engineering classes, students listen to guest lecturers, job interviews, take site tours, and prepare for life after high school by doing mock interviews, virtual college tours, and profiles. professional compatibility.

Ms. Jokerst made sure we all felt welcome and deserved to be in the classroom, battling all the uncertainties each of us felt in joining the engineering field as it is predominantly dominated by men, ”wrote Anna Leonhardt, this year’s West Hills graduate, in a recommendation letter for Jokerst.

Jokerst likes to start his class with music and a happy greeting, she wrote. On a recent school day, she greeted her students dressed in ’70s outfit and dancing to the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive”. She invited the students to use disco movements to model the final behaviors of the graphics.

“No one looks as ridiculous as I do, so not everyone is afraid to engage in the activity,” Jokerst wrote. “The energy is high and the learning that is happening is even higher. “

Last year, when her school was in distance education, Jokerst made take-out engineering kits for her students and built four e-learning platforms for the four subjects she taught. When her school switched to blended in-person and distance learning, she juggled daily Zoom meetings, tutorials, and a weekly social hour, where students learning at home and students learning at school could bond. each other.

“Tiffany is a shining example of an educator who works tirelessly to ensure that her students are engaged and ready to succeed, both in school and beyond,” said Paul Gothold, County Schools Superintendent from San Diego, in a press release. “She has persevered through difficult times and remains determined to uplift all of her students.”

The last San Diego-area teacher to be named State Teacher of the Year was Jaime Brown of San Diego High School in 2017, according to the San Diego County Office of Education.

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