The William S. Hart Union School District has announced Golden Valley chemistry teacher Julie Huffman as the 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year.
Huffman, who also won the award in 2007, has been teaching for 19 years, the last 13 with the Hart School District. She is co-chair of the highly collaborative science department at Golden Valley, helps run an at-risk program at the school, and created a family resource program at Sierra Vista Junior High.
“It is super gratifying to know that helping students become excited about learning and striving for academic success is important in our community,” said Huffman, who began her teaching career in Omaha, Nebraska, after attaining her Bachelor’s degree there. “I’m really happy to have a career that allows me to work with so many unique and inspiring students and adults.”
In addition to her district teaching, Huffman teaches an elementary science methods class at the University of La Verne, where she also received her Master’s in educational administration. Her postcard book about science and chemistry entitled “Periodic Thoughts” will be released June 16th.
“Julie is recognized as an exceptional teacher by her peers,” said Mike Kuhlman, Assistant Superintendent, Education Services for the Hart School District. “She’s incredibly creative in her lesson planning and her classes, as I’ve observed them, are rigorous, creative and fun. There is an excitement in what’s happening in Miss Huffman’s class.”
Huffman points to the teacher-driven “Next Generation Science Standards” that has increased collaboration throughout all of the science departments in the district as one of the more rewarding accomplishments of the last two years. But her “good days,” of which there are many, always revolve around her students.
“Good days are filled with learning, plain and simple,” Huffman wrote. “And often times it is just heard in the silent smile or straightened spine of the student that just heard me exclaim loudly, ‘You, my friend, are brilliant!’ followed with, ‘Now, can you help your friend here?’”