The opportunity to enrich her teaching wasn’t lost on Stephanie.

Q. What brought you to UCR University Extension?

A. I am lucky enough to work in a school district where professional development is valued and important. My district offered an opportunity for its teachers to earn a Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Certificate through UCR University Extension. Many GATE students (identified and unidentified) have walked through my door, and now I was finally getting a chance to learn “officially” how to best support those students. I understood that just because I was not a GATE-certified teacher, that didn’t mean that I was not able to teach them. I was excited to make it official.

Q. What difference did your experience at UCR University Extension make to your life path and career goals?

A. The GATE program, its classes, and instructors enriched my teaching skills for the benefit of my current and future students.

Q. What have been some of the most exciting or rewarding moments of your career so far?

A. By far, the most exciting and rewarding moments of my career have been seeing my students graduate high school and going off to college. I might or might not have had some influence in getting them there, but that doesn't stop me from continuing to be their cheerleader. It makes my teacher's heart burst when they come back to visit me and tell me all about what their new endeavors are!

Q. What has been the greatest challenge you have faced during your career?

A. I have faced challenges in my career. This year, my biggest challenge has been managing student behavior. I strive to make healthy relationships with all my students. However, the level of disrespect has been unprecedented. As an educator, you know that "hard students" are the ones that fight you the most because they are the ones that need your love the most. So how have I handled it? I continue to try and show love to the best of my ability.

Q. Was there a particular department, staff member, or instructor memorable to your experience?

A. Absolutely! Shout out to my instructor, Christopher Rangel, who provided such amazing and useful feedback on all assignments. It was evident that he was reading everything we were putting out. He made sure that he clarified any questions without making anyone feel uncomfortable for having asked in the first place. He frequently shared his experiences, past and present, and was always available. I appreciate people like Christopher.

Stephanie is the perfect example of a dedicated teacher who wants to be the best she can be for her students. At UCR University Extension, we value teachers and offer courses, programs, certificates, and credentials to give them additional skills so they, like Stephanie, are the very best they can be! Thank you, Stephanie, for being an inspiration to teachers everywhere.

6th Grade GATE and EL Teacher, Colton Joint Unified School District
B.A., Sociology, UCR (GO, Highlanders!)
M.Ed., University of Phoenix
Graduate, UCR University Extension
GATE Professional Certificate Program