Welcome New Teachers!

Breakfast and orientation prepares first-year instructors for 2018-19 school year

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | New teachers in the South Pasadena Unified School District include: Front row, from left: Ji Choo, Laura Akcasu, Arpi Tamzarian, Emma Marin, Melody Darnell. Middle, from left: Jennifer Sabo, Sarah Martin. Back row, from left: Andre (Jose) Zumaeta, Mindy Pomper-Johnson, Emily Meinke, Jack Hall, Chad Bryant.

Addressing about 20 new teachers in the South Pasadena Unified School District, Superintendent Geoff Yantz offered some advice as they prepare for the 2018-19 school year.

“Work hard and be kind,” he told the group in side the district’s boardroom at the school district headquarters during new teacher orientation earlier this week. “Do those two things and everything is going to be great.”

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz addressed new teachers in the SPUSD Board Room

Those action words were taught to Yantz by his grandfather at a young age and later in life have helped to guide him through the challenges of leading the local school district. “They resonate in everything you do,” explained Yantz after he left the meeting. “I find it relevant in our society today that those two characteristics are more important now than they were when he told me as a kid.”

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Whether you’re a veteran teacher or brand new on the scene, Yantz says there’s always a level of excitement with the first day of school. The new teachers welcomed students into their respective classrooms on Thursday morning.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Board of Education member Julie Giulioni welcomed the new teachers to the South Pasadena Unified School District during new teacher orientation.

“There’s a renewed focus and a whole new set of challenges that teachers look forward to,” he said. For students, pointed out Yantz, the first day of school seems to always bring emotions anxiousness, the excitement of seeing friends from a long summer. For teachers it’s similar, as they experience a beginning, middle and end while “getting geared up to start over again.”

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Karen Reed, assistant superintendent for human resources, welcomed the teachers to the orientation earlier this week.

SPUSD New Teachers 2018-2019

Arroyo Vista – Arpi Tamzaroam. RSP; Kimberly Woo, counselor (shared with SPMS);
Chad Bryant, Technology Integration Coach.

Marengo – Laura Akcasu, Speech & Language Pathologist; Melody Darnell, 5th grade; Arpi Tamzarian, RSP; Chad Bryant, Technology Integration Coach.

Monterey Hills – Jack Hall, TK; Emma Marin, DI; Amanda Zia, 4th grade; Chad Bryant, Technology Integration Coach.

South Pasadena Middle School – Carlos Kassam-Clay, Assistant Principal; Ji Choo, Maht (shared with SPHS), Emily Meinke, Science; Mindy Pomper-Johnson, CTE Broadcast Journalism; Jennifer Sabo, RSP; Sarah Martin, Band and Kimberly Woo, Counselor (shared with AV).

South Pasadena High School – Andre Zumaeta, CTE Sports Medicine; Ji Choo, Math (shared with SPMS), Chad Bryant, Technology Integration Coach.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz walked throughout the school district board room on Tuesday meeting new teachers.

“Let me just say, a huge welcome,” said Board of Education member Julie Giulioni, who was also at the teacher orientation. “You have made a very good choice here. South Pasadena is very special place. I grew up here and went through the schools and couldn’t imagine raising my family anywhere else. What we have here is a culture that really values the students.”

She told the new teachers that Yantz is a remarkable superintendent and the principals, administrators and support staff that are “absolutely top notch.”

Giulioni encouraged the teachers to “have a good school year,” adding, “We know you’re going to make a significant difference.”

Yantz stressed that South Pasadena is a community that values its schools. “We have an extraordinary faculty and staff, who work very hard to make sure they bring a quality education to the community.”

In state test scores, the SPUSD ranked among the top five schools in the state during the last school year. “We’re very proud,” said Yantz. “In all likelihood we’ll continue to be in the top 5 this next year based on last year’s test scores. Test scores are what they are and it’s wonderful the results indicate such. It’s important that we remain mindful of all the other accomplishments in a school system, and not just focus on test scores. We must continue to recognize the work our arts program produces as well as our athletic programs – all of it. It’s important that we continue to make progress and provide students everything we can.”