KIRSTEN FARRELL, a health science and medical technology teacher at Venice Senior High School, and member of United Teachers Los Angeles, AFT Local 1021, was named as one of five California Teachers of the Year for 2018 by the state Department of Education.

Farrell created one of the first sports medicine teams at Venice High in 2004 in partnership with the West Coast Sports Foundation. In addition to teaching students about anatomy, medical terminology, and treatment of athletic injuries, the program trains them in CPR and other life-saving techniques.

A 21-year teaching veteran, Farrell has served Venice High for 15 years as a regional occupational program and career technical education teacher.

MARK LANTSBERGER, a computer science teacher at Del Norte High School in Poway, and member of the Poway Federation, AFT Local 2357, was a finalist in the California Teachers of the Year award program. Named a San Diego County Teacher of the Year, Lantsberger advises the school computer club, maintains a “digital classroom,” and opens his lab before and after school for students to work on projects.

JAMES BLACKIE, a science teacher at Horace Ensign Intermediate School in Newport Beach, and member of the Newport-Mesa Federation, AFT Local 1794, was a semifinalist in the California Teachers of the Year program. A teacher of the year in the Newport-Mesa Unified district, Blackie exposes students to thought-provoking science lab activities.

DAVID MIELKE, a psychology teacher at Culver City High, CFT Vice President, and president of the Culver City Federation, AFT Local 1343, was featured on a podcast sponsored by Mad in America, a non-profit focused on rethinking psychiatric care. Mielke is concerned about the number of children who have a psychiatric diagnosis and are on psychiatric drugs. In the podcast, he explores these interventions and drug-free alternatives. Listen to the the podcast here