NORWALK -- Two Norwalk-La Mirada Unified elementary teachers will dedicate two years to learn and become mentors to a select group of colleagues, helping them to refine their teaching methods as part of the Art of Teaching program through the Cotsen Foundation.
Escalona Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Aaron Brown will mentor seven colleagues, and Morrison Elementary School resource specialist Lisa Lambuth will mentor six, improving their instruction techniques in a specific area, such as reading or writing.
Brown and Lambuth will be released from their current positions to be mentors full time – the Cotsen Foundation will pay for the entire cost of salaries and benefits of the mentors for those two years.
“I’m excited to work extensively with my colleagues to help them move even further into their careers,” Brown said. “By helping the fellows fine tune their teaching and become even greater teachers, they will in turn strengthen the students’ learning in the classroom.”
The following teachers will participate as Cotsen fellows:
•Escalona Elementary: Mari Brown, Ron Della Valle, Renee Ivy, Michelle Lee, Jennifer Liivoja, Lisa Moreno and Nancy Odell.
•Morrison Elementary: Renee Caloca, Erik Hartl, Ardell Hucko, Laura lovino, Lori Knight and Gary Roels.
The mentors will spend two to three hours a week with teachers in their classrooms and in individual planning and feedback sessions, as well as organizing monthly inquiry group meetings. Twice a year, fellows will have their lessons videotaped and reviewed. Mentors and fellows will occasionally travel to other schools and conferences together to observe and learn more on how to perfect their teaching methods.
“This is an opportunity for our best educators to collaborate and help each other reach a higher level in their teaching,” NLMUSD Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian said. “The development our teachers will gain from the Cotsen Foundation’s program will translate directly to our students’ success in the classroom.”
On June 4, Brown, Lambuth and the Cotsen fellows will attend an orientation session. In August, Brown and Lambuth will receive mentor training. The program is scheduled to begin in fall 2016.
“Our teachers are determined to be the best in their profession, and The Art of Teaching provides them with the ability to achieve that goal,” NLMUSD Board President Karen Morrison said. “Congratulations to our Cotsen mentors and fellows as they grow stronger in their profession.”
Lloyd Cotsen, former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Neutrogena Corp., initiated the Art of Learning program in 2001. Cotsen believes the achievements in his life were spurred by the teachers who challenged and inspired him growing up and he was determined to return the favor by helping teachers become difference makers.