Santa Paula Times

SPUHS Teacher Whaley honored as Educator of the Month by Chamber

November 11, 2011
Santa Paula News

Teachers are heroes too, and those attending the November Good Morning Santa Paula were able to celebrate Educator of the Month Jody Whaley.

The Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event was held at the Glen Tavern Inn in the newly painted Houdini Lounge. 

Whaley, a Santa Paula High School math teacher, is also the chairperson of the Math Department. According to Principal Elizabeth Garcia, Whaley, who has taught at the Campus on the Hill since 1986, has many talents.

“What we love about Jody is that she’s a wonderful collaborator who brings her entire department together,” as well as other campus groups that interact well due to Whaley’s efforts. “She’s a wonderful teacher and,” Garcia noted, “her students all love her.” 

Good Morning Santa Paula Moderator Ben Schuck remarked that Whaley probably has many success stories to share.

Whaley also works with school administration to help craft the teaching master plan and determine class assignments, and she said she will often “leave myself with the lower end. I like working with those kids that are such a challenge,” and whom, Whaley said, she suspects “don’t have a lot of positive things in their lives.”

Such students and the challenges they present energize Whaley:  “I have that little chick thing going on,” perfect for her Mother Hen leanings and the needs of the student. “I tell other teachers, give that student to me... if I can’t find a way to touch that child” the student is probably untouchable.

“I can’t reach them all and that does get me upset,” but Whaley said those students she can reach make up for it. With her encouragement, students make plans for the future that often includes a college education,  “something that wasn’t on the table” at the time Whaley first met the student.

Schuck noted that devoted teachers do experience heartbreak, but “Thank you so much for making teaching your career.... Your devotion and passion help make children the best they can be.”

Ernie Villegas, district director for Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, presented Whaley with a certificate, noting his wife is a longtime teacher. And, he added, with the coming Veterans Day it is time to remember that “heroes are also our educators,” especially those as committed to their students as Whaley.