New Teachers Talk About Their Passion: Education

Patch had the opportunity to chat with a few of the new hires at Ceiba Prep Academy.

, a charter school within the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, has hired a handful of new teachers this year. For many of the new hires, this is their first year assuming a full-time teaching role. They've put their student and substitute-teaching days behind them and are ready to educate, inspire and get students moving down an educational path to success.

Patch checked in with a few of them and can say with confidence that this diverse butch is going to make a difference, one student at a time.


Jennifer Boroica, 27, is a teacher with flare. She received both her Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and her teaching credentials from California State University, Sacramento. Referring to herself as the entire PE department, she's Ceiba's one and only PE teacher, and works hard to get her sixth-through-ninth-graders active.

Patch: What's your background in education?

Boroica: I substitute taught for the Folsom Cordova Unified School District, which is in the Sacramento vicinity, for the 2010-11 school year. Other than that, I was a student teacher at First Street Elementary in Lincoln and Folsom Middle School. I've also worked in a couple of afterschool programs at Riverbank Elementary and Stonegate in West Sacramento.

Patch: What excites you about teaching in general?

Boroica: What excites me about teaching are the students, above all. The feeling I get from making a student happy and excited about what they're learning is one of the best feelings in the world. And at Ceiba, I'll have the opportunity to interact with so many students, since I'm their new, and only, PE teacher.

Patch: Why did you want to become a teacher?

Boroica: I always played teacher when I was small, and I guess the interest never went away. Plus I have a few family members who are teachers, so maybe teaching runs through my blood. 

Patch: What do you like about teaching your selected grade level?

Boroica: Students in middle and high school seem easier to relate to, and they sometimes seem to catch on to things a little quicker. Really, my favorite grade level is sixth grade, because at that age, students are so lovable and still trying to impress you.

Patch: What do you hope to bring to the classroom?

Boroica: I hope that I inspire students to be physically active for life. I want students to enjoy their movement experiences and learn how to apply the idea of moving for a lifetime. Sac State really prepared me to make a difference in this field.

Patch: What interests you in the school you were recently hired at?

Boroica: I really believe in what Ceiba stands for and I like that Ceiba wants every student—both low and high academic achievers—to succeed and make it through high school and college.

This is definitely a turning point in my life. I left friends and family back at home just to come here and teach at Ceiba, and it is also the start of my teaching career. But it's also more than just a turning point in my life; it's about making a difference in students' lives. It's about getting students physically active, and about getting them to develop a love and appreciation for different forms of movement. It's for students to develop a healthier lifestyle and, ultimately, have a better quality of life.


Nick Winnie, 25, is a teacher who lives and breathes history. He received both his Bachelor of Science in history and teaching credentials from University of California, Santa Cruz. Referring to himself as a history dork, Winnie left his days of working in the political trenches to working alongside middle-schoolers instead. He enthusiastically teaches the importance of sourcing and contextualization in his seventh-grade world history and eighth-grade U.S. history classes.

Patch: What's your background in education?

Winnie: This is my first, full-time teaching role. I was a student teacher at North Monterey County High School for nine months and at for a short time. 

Patch: What excites you about teaching?

Winnie: Basically, I've always been sort of an activist and I've always been interested in doing political work. I worked on the Obama campaign in 2008 when I was 22, and it was great, but it helped me realize that I didn't want to do political work all my life. I discovered that teaching is a way I can help with one of the most crucial aspects in our society, but I don't have to be involved in politics directly. Part of why I love this job is because I get to research it and learn about it. Another part is the challenge of learning as a teacher and then transferring that knowledge to students.

Patch: How did you get into teaching?

Winnie: Eighty percent of my family that are working adults are teachers, and from being around them my whole life, their entire approach to life just started rubbing off on me. Their calling became part of their personalities and part of mine as a child. I started to love teaching at a young age, whether it was teaching a friend, helping someone on an essay or helping them play guitar. I wouldn't say that I wanted to follow in anyone's footsteps; it more-so just became a natural inclination.

Patch: What do you like about teaching your selected grade level?

Winnie: I like teaching seventh and eighth grade, because there's a sense of natural childish curiosity that really makes it fun. That childlike sense of wonder that can go out the window at a later time is still there. They're precocious, and they can bounce back from things really quickly. And it's such an important age, because it's their last year before transitioning into becoming high-schoolers. It may not be the most enjoyable age to teach at certain moments, but it might be the most important, because kids who leave middle school far behind in academics never really catch up in high school, so it's a chance to get them up to speed before it's too late.

Patch: What do you hope to bring to the classroom?

Winnie: To put it in a nutshell, I want to teach the skills of sourcing and contextualization by getting students to question where information comes from, instead of saying, "This info is in the text book; I have to take it as face value." I want them to question information, not just for history, but for their own literacy in general.

Patch: What do you like about Ceiba College Prep Academy?

Winnie: I really like their school culture. After going in to interview, I realized it was special place. It has a small, intimate setting where students and teachers get to know each other immediately. Under the banner of school culture, these guys are really knowledgeable about turning around achievement in the district.


Christal Alderton, 26, is teaching a sixth-grade English language arts class and strives to have a positive impact on her students. She received her Bachelor of Science in liberal studies and teaching credentials from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and graduated with her master's in education from Chapman University in Monterey. She loves learning and is eager to get students on the same path.

Patch: What's your background in education? 

Alderton: I worked for five years in primary education at in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.

Patch: What excites you about teaching in general?

Alderton: I love to connect with students and watch them grow into great people. I get excited to make the biggest amount of impact I can in a small amount of time.

Patch: Why did you want to become a teacher?

Alderton: I wanted to become a teacher so that I could help create opportunities for learning, especially in places where these opportunities are not readily available.

Patch: What do you like about teaching your selected grade level?

Alderton: I just started teaching sixth grade a few weeks ago, but I love how sixth-graders still appreciate their teachers and like to have fun. I also enjoy that I can use humor in my teaching, because they are able to understand it.

Patch: What do you hope to bring to the classroom?

Alderton: I hope to bring my own love of learning to the classroom. I hope the students will see me modeling the excitement of learning. I am also hoping to do more group work and literature circles, so that the students can work more collaboratively. Ultimately, I want to challenge them to reach the highest goals that they possibly can.

Patch: What interests you in the school you were recently hired at?

Alderton: I love that Ceiba exists to open the opportunity of college for all of its students. They have a goal, and everyone is on the same playing field. All of the teachers are doing similar things. The consistency is seen by the students, and it makes a difference.

I was also drawn to the freedom that teachers have to create curriculum that is suited to the needs of their students. When I applied to Ceiba, I was looking for a place where I could be challenged as a teacher but still work with the same students, and luckily for me, I found that place.


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