Teacher of the Year

first_imgSANTA FE SPRINGS – Ruth Benner has taught at a bevy of institutions over the past two decades – a psychiatric hospital, a men’s prison, a private school for emotionally disturbed students and an Orthodox Jewish girls school.Initially, Benner says, she took those jobs because there wasn’t much available in teaching at the time.“I wanted to be a teacher since I was young, and when I first started, I was willing to try anything,” said Benner, 45, who is now a teacher at Lake Center Middle School. “You could call it foolish, but I was willing to teach in different areas.”But at each of those jobs, Benner learned something new – and she took those lessons to heart, using them to transform herself into one of the best in her profession.The seventh-grade language arts teacher is the 2005-06 Teacher of the Year for the Little Lake City School District.“She’s a really special teacher,” said Lake Center seventh-grader Jorge Anguiano. “She drops whatever she is doing and takes the time to help us.“If one person doesn’t understand, she waits until everyone understands,” he added.Benner received a bachelor’s degree in political science and her first teaching credential from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She earned her upper-education credentials at Cal State Long Beach.When she found out she’d been selected Teacher of the Year, Benner says she was “excited and honored.” But most of all, she jumped at the opportunity to bring a little positive attention to her profession.“I wanted to draw some positive light on the fact that all teachers here work hard,” she said. “I felt like I won the award to represent them as well.”Beth Cassford, a former California Teacher of the Year and a fellow Lake Center teacher, said new teachers are naturally drawn to Benner.“New teachers are not hesitant to ask her for help or advice,” Cassford said. “Rather, they are drawn to her openness and enthusiasm.“She is a constant and reliable resource to her colleagues. She is always willing to share her expertise with others,” Cassford said.What Benner loves most about her job, however, is the revelations that come from her students.“What they write is so much different from what they say,” Benner said. “Even a kid that you wouldn’t consider `above average’ – when they sit down and write, they come up with some amazing things.“I think I have the perfect job,” she added. “I’m so proud to be a teacher, so proud of this school and the other teachers here. And I’m proud to represent them.” [email protected](562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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