Amy Brody is a visual impairment specialist and works hard to teach students with visual imparities how to safely and effectively move through their environment. Brody has been working with the blind and visually impaired for years and is very enthusiastic about her profession.
“It’s important to me that my work has a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Brody. “I am motivated every day by students.”
Kathryn Clarke, the new librarian at CVHS, is an old friend to the library career. Previously working as a district librarian for 13 years in Deer Valley, Clarke is the definition of a “book worm.”
“I’ve always loved the library!” said Clarke. “I even remember the first library book I ever checked out!”
Claire Douglas, a new special needs teacher, is in her second year of teaching and is passionate about teaching kids. “I really enjoy figuring out how each of my students learn, and I really like helping them find their strengths,” said Douglas.
This year she wants to figure out ways to integrate special education students with the whole school population as much as possible.
Whitewater rafting enthusiast and Drake look-alike Shad Emam has already had three years of teaching experience and previously student-taught at Castro Valley High.
Currently, he teaches an Algebra 2 class and a Probability and Statistics class and also taught Geometry and Algebra 1 at Oakland High School, which he attended.
His goal is “to increase the likelihood of student success,” he said.
Science teacher Ben Frazier entered his third year of teaching overall and first year at CVHS, moving away from his part-time teaching experience at Berkeley High School.
“I like how teaching’s constantly interesting, and I’m never bored doing the same things every day,” Frazier said.
Frazier is especially excited for lab days during his classes, and can’t wait to make sure all students learn and excel in their studies.
Originally from Fairfield, Yvonne Garcia had lived and taught there before coming to CVHS. Having taught several subjects previously, she now teaches four history classes and a psychology class.
“Teaching allows you to improvise. It also allows you to stay a bit juvenile and immature,” said Garcia.
Her plans this year are to get to know as many students as possible, hoping to expand her social base and connect with students.
From Philadelphia and New York City to Fremont and Castro Valley, Sara Hamilton has now taught for five years. She currently teaches Academic Support and English.
“I love when a student finally gets it, and that light bulb suddenly goes off in their head, like, ‘Oh!’ and they understand,” said Hamilton.
Tighe Herren is the motorcycling, traveling, and Warriors-loving new teacher at CVHS. Previously working on computers in technical support, Herren says his main love is working and teaching people.
“I didn’t enjoy working with computers and I was much happier working with people every day,” said Herren.
Herren’s day at work is split between his time working at Redwood Alternative and CVHS as an academic teacher. Herren is very dedicated to his work.
English and ELT teacher Matthew Kertesz began his 14th year teaching, and is excited by the idea that he’s working with the future leaders and change-makers of the world.
“I want to continually improve my teaching,” Kertesz said.
Above all, Kertesz wants to motivate his students to keep learning as much as possible, quoting Mahatma Gandhi: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Alan Kraut started his second year of teaching at CVHS, last year being a long-term substitute for Dr. Bertram Pinsky.
Kraut has previously taught physical sciences at San Leandro High School, among them Physics, Physics of Robotics, and Forensic Science.
“I love seeing people start to understand things, and I really want to be an awesome teacher and know my courses well,” Kraut said.
Currently teaching Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, Tommy Maloney believes in raising the next generation of future leaders.
“My favorite thing about teaching is that I like to make a difference in your lives,” Maloney said.
His goals this year are working on getting all kids to pass his class and also getting his master’s degree in education.
CVHS is happy to add Ivery McKnight to the school’s counseling staff. Working as a counselor at Livermore and Berkeley for more than 12 years, McKnight is more than qualified for the job.
With a passion for gardening and two kids of her own, McKnight is going to work hard and excited to get to know all her students.
Basudha Mukherjee began her sixth year of full-time teaching, moving from San Ramon to Tennyson High School and now teaching Biology at CVHS.
“I love the relationship between teacher and student,” Mukherjee said. “I love it when we share our problems and take down the invisible barrier between us.”
Having taught previously at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, Yahaira Oceguera is currently in her third year of teaching and looking forward to the years and memories ahead at Castro Valley High. Her love of Spanish led her to teach Spanish Heritage as well as a Spanish 2 class this year.
“I like helping students the most, and my goal is to make sure they learn as much as they can,” said Oceguera.
Alejandra Oseguera, one of CVHS’s new counselor, has lots of new plans for her students to “get very much involved” in the community. Field trips and community service are things she hopes will help her students learn.
Oseguera previously worked as an art teacher at Contra Costa College and loves to paint about her heritage in her free time.
Previously teaching at many schools such as Skyline High School, Emery Secondary School, and CSU East Bay, Cherisse Payne found herself at CVHS for her 18th year of teaching math.
“I love all of the math subjects I teach, especially Precalculus,” Payne said. “The kids and the math are what keep me going. I just really want to be a good teacher, and infuse Common Core in my lessons.”
After two years as a middle school English teacher in Salinas, Jonathan Rice started his third year of teaching, now at CVHS.
“I’ve grown up taking, and I finally want to give back,” Rice said.
Rice endeavors to get his students to think creatively and outside the box.
Teaching since 1997, Kelli Schiller started her career at a student correctional facility, moving to Fontana Unified, Orogrande, San Francisco, and finally Castro Valley Unified School District. Schiller had taught Spanish Heritage and Spanish AP Literature and Culture and now teaches Spanish 1.
“I like getting to interact with youth and my community, and I hope to leave a positive impact,” said Schiller.
“In our ‘throw-it-away society,’ we constantly dull our own creativity,” teacher Lesia Whitehurst said.
After teaching for 14 years alongside Cherisse Payne, Whitehurst entered CVHS as a new chemistry teacher, eager to affect her students’ growth.
“I want to cultivate my students’ curiosity about the things in the physical world and our tangible society,” Whitehurst said. “I want to make sure the future knows what to do with all of this plastic that we’ve left behind!”
Coming from his experiences teaching in Los Angeles and Alameda County Juvenile Hall, P.E. teacher John Williams enters his sixth year teaching as he joins the CVHS staff.
“I want to increase participation in my class, and raise the bar,” Williams said. “If 90 percent of my class participates, how can I get it to 95, and then how can I get to 100?”
This year he aims to help students with the challenges ahead of them.
Having four years of previous teaching experience at Oakland Technical High School, Teddy Yau offers new ways of teaching at CVHS. This year he teaches a Geometry and Precalculus class, and plans to give multiple projects in hopes of engaging students and getting them interested in learning more.
“What I like the most is the students and their creativity,” said Yau.