La Jolla, Calif. – National University alum Lewis Chappelear, who teaches engineering design at James Monroe High School in North Hills (Los Angeles County), has been named California's nominee for the 2008 National Teacher of the Year Award.
Chappelear is one of five 2008 California Teachers of Year, including three who are National University alumni. Like Chappelear, Gregory McFall, an eighth grade teacher at Johnson Middle School in Westminster (Orange County); and Tamara Reina, who teaches English and U.S. history at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility in Otay Mesa (San Diego County), are alumni of National University who have been named 2008 California Teachers of the Year.
The other California Teachers of the Year are Andee Aceves, who teaches third grade at San Altos Elementary School in Lemon Grove (San Diego County), and Michael Allen Long, a combination fourth and fifth grade teacher at Carmela Elementary School in Whittier (Los Angeles County).
"I congratulate these five outstanding teachers who represent the best and the brightest in California," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. "In recognizing them, their creativity, focus, and enthusiasm, we celebrate the essence of what teaching is, and that is being given the opportunity to change lives. These teachers have proven time and again that such change is not only possible but essential to the future success of California's children as productive members of society."
Chappelear joins a distinguished list of National University alumni who have been named nominated for National Teacher of the year including: Sandra McBrayer (1994) and Alan Sitomer (2007), with McBrayer receiving the nation's top educational honor in 1994.
In addition to teaching engineering design, Chappelear is also the school's IMPACT crisis coordinator.
"Today's classrooms lack relevance," wrote Chappelear in his application for the Teacher of the Year award. "In the past 20 years, the number of jobs that require an associate's degree or specialized certification has jumped from 20 percent to 60 percent…Learning is about sharing and having an ability to change. Our educational institutions should be more about dynamic growth than static factory models. Our classrooms should not sit like desolate islands far from any collaboration, surveying, or idea sharing with others. Students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members should all have their doors and minds open – let the sharing begin."
Chappelear earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University in 1994, a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University in 1995, and a California Clear Teaching Credential in math, physics, and electronics in 2001. He received a National Board Certification in 2005.
Chappelear can be reached at James Monroe High School, (818) 892-5622.
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