This school year, we’d like to take the time to shine a spotlight on our SEVA teachers. Our talented SEVA teachers help to develop and implement the student’s skills in incredible ways. We want to honor every teacher who encourages and fosters the passion and talents of their students. Our teachers are committed to making a difference in the life of each and every student. We’ll be updating this page weekly to give each of our SEVA teachers a time to shine!
Laura Harmon of Samuel Jackman Middle School
This week’s SEVA Teacher comes from Samuel Jackman Middle School in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Laura Harmon is in her eighth year of teaching and continually looks for new challenges in order to better teacher the students she serves. Just this past year she tasked her students with doing a live, daily newscast. Although there was a large learning curve, Ms. Harmon has been able to navigate her way through it, and as a result, has increased the level of responsibility, time management and other important life skills that her students are able to learn. She is constantly sharing her joy of the technical and creative side of media with her students and shows them how easily these skills complement each other. She has a deep understanding of how video production skills can help create successful, well-rounded students. Ms. Harmon takes full advantage of the entire SEVA program and uses the opportunities it provides to show her students what they can do with a bit of inspiration and motivation! Thank you, Ms. Harmon, for being a supporter of the SEVAs and for constantly looking to improve her skills for the betterment of her students. As you said, the sky is the limit!
Jeff Darrow of John Barrett Middle School
Jeff Darrow of John Barrett Middle School in the San Juan Unified School District is this week’s SEVA Teacher of the Week. Mr. Darrow has taught media for twelve years and has participated in the SEVAs nearly since his first day. During this time Mr. Darrow has discovered his love of teaching media by encouraging students to tell their stories their way. His class is designed to motivate his students to use their own authentic creativity and you can see the results in the joy and passion that his students have for the work they do in his class. This year has brought new students into Mr. Darrow’s ever-growing program, and he has been able to help show them that the skills they learn in media can be applied in any subject that they study. When you enter Mr. Darrow’s classroom you can feel the buzz of student’s working together and building off each other’s ideas. He truly has a unique way of allowing his students to have their own methods while knowing the perfect moment to intervene before things gets off track. This is the second media program that Mr. Darrow has led and we have no doubt that he will be able to grow it into something special. Thank you, Mr. Darrow for always being willing to take on a challenge and for bringing the SEVA program to yet another school. We can’t wait to see what your students are able to create!
Brian Weitzel of Del Campo High School
Brian Weitzel of Del Campo High School in the San Juan Unified School District is this week’s SEVA Teacher of the Week. Mr. Weitzel is the perfect example of what the SEVA program is all about. He uses the SEVA rubric as the center of his curriculum and has managed to cultivate some incredibly talented student video producers. Mr. Weitzel is not afraid of a challenge, especially when he knows it will better his students. Although creating a live broadcast is a very complicated undertaking, Mr. Weitzel believes that it teaches his students how to deal with deadlines and the importance of being prepared. These skills give his students an significant advantage in whatever career they may choose to pursue after high school. This is just one example of how Mr. Weitzel puts student learning first and why his classroom is such a special place. He has seen his share of challenges in the classroom and never shies away, instead he charges through and comes out with experience that he openly shares with others. He has a wealth of knowledge and astounds in his ability to continuously refine his craft. Thank you, Mr. Weitzel, for being a beacon for media teachers.
Trevor Harding of Sunrise Elementary School
This week’s SEVA Teacher of the week comes from Sunrise Elementary School in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Trevor Harding is one of the most energetic teachers you will ever meet. He is always moving and has an uncanny ability to brighten up a room whether it’s filled with adults or children. When Sunrise Elementary School recently received a grant to upgrade their studio, Mr. Harding wasted no time putting it to use. Under the guidance of their teacher, Mr. Harding’s students were able to create a complete newscast, featuring field reports as well as a tour of their studio. Mr. Harding understands how important it is for his students to feel empowered and have independence in the classroom. He lets the students create what they are passionate about, and encourages them to make it the best it can be. During their pitch fests, his students share ideas and Mr. Harding helps them plan through how to create a video, no matter how off-the-wall the ideas area. He has the incredible talent of finding a way to make any situation fun. There is no doubt that the SEVA Teacher Community would not be the same without him. Thank you, Mr. Harding, for always brightening our day.
Karen Albert from McCaffrey Middle School
Karen Albert of Robert L. McCaffrey Middle School in the Galt Joint Elementary School District is this weeks SEVA Teacher of the Week. Mrs. Albert has helped students learn all things video production for ten of her 19 years in teaching. During these ten years Mrs. Albert has gotten to experience the magic of seeing students’ creativity shine. She challenges her students to try something new and helps them see that they are capable of things they might not have known were possible otherwise. Mrs. Albert has found that her students often teach her just as much as she is teaching them. While she encourages her students to look to their peers for help before they come to her, she also isn’t afraid to ask for help from her students in front of the class. The sense of pride that comes from this collaboration is unmistakable. Mrs. Albert understands that the more responsibility she gives her students the more they develop skills that can be used beyond the four walls of the classroom. Mrs. Albert has been one of the biggest supporters of creating a group for our teachers. She is always looking to build a stronger network and has been instrumental in creating a community for media teachers.
Thuy Pham of Creative Connections Arts Academy
Thuy Pham of Creative Connections Art Academy in the Twin Rivers Unified School District is this week’s SEVA Teacher of the Week. Mr. Pham has been cultivating student’s creativity for the last 20 years and is always finding new and unique ways to go about his lessons. He is able to teach his students complex ideas by combining them with new and exciting technologies. His methods help students fully invest in their learning and gets them excited to come to school. Through multiple peer and teacher review phases, his students learn perseverance and that your first draft is never your final draft. He has become infamous in the SEVA Program for creating full length movies; a process that teaches each student hard work and dedication. Each completed project is truly celebrated not only within his class, but Mr. Pham makes sure the entire community recognizes the incredible work his students do. It’s this innovation and creativity that helps his student channel their own skills and create remarkable videos. Each year his students amaze our judges with their use of editing and technical skills. Thank you, Mr. Pham, for all that you do for your students and for being an inspiration to the entire SEVA Program.
Dana La Chapelle of Toby Johnson Middle School
This week’s SEVA Teacher is Dana La Chapelle of Toby Johnson Middle School in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Mrs. La Chapelle is truly a trail-blazer in the world of media production teaching. She started with an empty classroom, and, through grit and determination, has turned her room into a full production studio where her middle school students create incredible videos. Each year, Mrs. La Chapelle has a unique group of students who bring their own levels of energy, commitment, and talent to the process of storytelling. Mrs. La Chapelle is able to help every student tell their own stories to inform, educate, entertain, and connect with their audience. She has created an atmosphere where the students feel empowered to create media with minimal teacher oversight and are able to perform skills that many much older students are still learning. Mrs. La Chapelle, thank you for leading the way and helping to shape the SEVA program as a whole. Your knowledge, experience and passion are amazing in and of themselves, but your willingness to share and desire to help others is what makes you truly unique and such an important part of the SEVA program.
John Hull of Luther Burbank High School
This week’s SEVA Teacher of the Week comes from Luther Burbank High School. John Hull has been teaching for 14 years and has not lost any of his enthusiasm for what he does. You can tell that media is not only his work, but his passion as well. He gets just as excited as his students do about their videos. In Mr. Hull’s classroom, the students enthusiasm only grows when they talk about their projects with Mr. Hull and he begins to infuse his own spirit and energy. It is this enthusiasm that hooks his students in to his media program. His students continue to improve their techniques year after year and become mentors to new students in the program. Mr. Hull provides his students with the opportunity to compare their work with others by collaborating with the SEVAs. By doing this his students are able to see that their work is just as good as the others out there which creates an excitement for them to continue producing great digital media. Thank you Mr. Hull for being a pillar in the SEVA program, it’s hard to imagine this group of teachers without you in it.
Erica Swift of Herman Leimbach Elementary School
Ms. Swift has been teaching for 17 years and is returning to the classroom this year after spending a number of years as a very successful computer resource teacher. Erica’s commitment to using technology as a tool for opening a world of learning possibilities is truly impressive. Ms. Swift helps her elementary students complete ambitious projects though focusing on pitch drills, planning, creating, and receiving feedback. She has instilled so much confidence in her students, that she has led students off-campus as reporters to capture stories from the surrounding community. Her students are proud of the projects they produce in her class and beyond. It’s this well-rounded teaching that allows Ms. Swift’s students to be more critical consumers of the media they encounter on a daily basis. It also empowers them to share their own ideas through the media they create. In this, her student’s can begin to recognize biases in the media they consume, which is a very critical skill. Ms. Swift has been able to give her students the opportunity to share their voices beyond the classroom and show them the importance of staying on track and meeting a deadline. The SEVA program is lucky to have her.
Vernon Bisho of Center High School
Mr. Bisho is one of our favorite teachers to collaborate with given his enthusiasm and passion for what he does. In fact, Mr. Bisho helped build the SEVA program in to what it is today during his 29 years as a teacher. At Center High School’s Media Communications Academy in the Center Joint Unified School District, Mr. Bisho has worked tirelessly to build an award-winning program where story structure and writing are the foundation of student video projects. More recently, Mr. Bisho has expanded his teaching to the elementary and middle schools in his district where he has helped ignite the next generation of SEVA student producers. Mr. Bisho always encourages his students to grow and is excited that they will likely be the creators of quality content in the future. In collaboration with the SEVAs, Mr. Bisho has been able to motivate his students to work harder on projects and learn skills that they use in daily life. He has taken this a step further by finding unique opportunities for his students in field trips, workshops, and festivals. It’s these unique opportunities that keep his students interested, passionate and curious about media and film. Thank you, Mr. Bisho, for your humble presence, subtle humor and vast knowledge of video production techniques. You have impacted the SEVA program in more ways than words can say!
Melissa May of Inderkum High School
Melissa May is only on her third year of teaching, but she brings a wealth of knowledge from real world experience into her classroom. Mrs. May came to Inderkum High School in the Natomas Unified School District after a longtime career with ABC 10 as a TV journalist. Her career on TV is part of what makes Mrs. May such a dynamic and unique part of the SEVA Teacher Program. She is able to continuously give real-world applications of the work students are doing in her class, and this has become a game changer for her students. Mrs. May does anything she can to help her students follow their dreams and she tries to make sure every door is open to them. Mrs. May understands that the future of media is evolving and believes this helps not only prepare, but excite her students for the endless possibilities that could be in their future. When speaking with Mrs. May’s students, it’s clear that her passion and dedication has created a spark in them and we can’t wait to see what they are able to accomplish. Thank you, Mrs. May, for always being willing to share your knowledge and experiences with everyone you meet. You have encouraged us all to look at media from a different perspective and your passion to help students is truly admirable.
Wendy Esquivel of Will Rogers Middle School
Wendy Esquivel from Will Rogers Middle School in the San Juan Unified School District is this week’s SEVA Teacher of the Week. Ms. Esquivel has experienced a lot in her 19 years of teaching and has a unique ability to connect with the middle school students that she teaches. One of the greatest lessons Ms. Esquivel has shared with her students is to put their heart into everything they do and to let their creativity shine. Ms. Esquivel takes her own personal time to help her students and is always working to push them to get their projects done, which is why Will Rogers had an impressive 23 videos submitted to last year’s SEVAs. Ms. Esquivel is proud to be part of the SEVA program which she feels provides lifelong memories for her students and motivation for them to continue to work harder and improve year after year. This year Ms. Esquivel has a whole bunch of super enthusiastic students and we can’t wait to see what they are able to create! Thank you, Ms. Esquivel for keeping the enthusiasm going and for showing the future of media all the great wonders they can accomplish!
Brooke Beckett of Galt High School
Our SEVA Teacher of the Week is Brooke Beckett from Galt High School in the Galt Joint Union High School District.Brooke Beckett has been teaching for the past ten years and has shown that she truly understands what great opportunities media creates for students. Brooke uses her teaching to show students how to express themselves, while simultaneously showing them that media has real world applications and instills universal skills. Ms. Beckett’s talent was recently recognized by her district when they awarded her the 2018 Teacher of the Year. Ms. Beckett also has the great ability of recognizing talent in students and pulling them in. Just last year she saw a student filming on campus and helped them take part in the SEVA program. She is able to broaden student horizons by teaching new programs and skills. Ms. Beckett constantly pushes her students to higher levels of rigor which shows in the videos her students submit. There is a passion that comes through when talking to her students and it is clear that Ms. Beckett is a driving force behind that passion. Thank you, Brooke, for helping represent what the SEVAs are all about and for helping show students just how great media can be!
Jennifer Law of Wilson C. Riles Middle School
Jennifer Law from Wilson C. Riles Middle School in Center Joint Unified School District is our SEVA Teacher of the Week. Ms. Law has made an impact in the lives of her students for the past 23 years, and just recently created an opportunity for her students to learn video production. She has quickly grown her video program and hopes to do even more to help students express themselves through media. The SEVA program is actually what encouraged Ms. Law to start an after-school media program at Wilson C. Riles Middle School. Through her media program, Ms. Law has been able to instill in her students the importance of timelines, as well as share in their joy when they have been through the process and have completed projects that are truly theirs. She has learned how great an outlet media is for students to express themselves and is constantly encouraging them to learn more and go further. We have no doubt that Ms. Law’s program is just the beginning for her and her students and we can’t wait to see what their future holds! Thank you, Ms. Law for your willingness to put in the work to start this program for your students. We appreciate you and all that you do!
Kyle Heckey of Sutter Middle School
Our SEVA Teacher of the Week is Kyle Heckey from Sutter Middle School in the Sacramento City Unified School District. Mr. Heckey has been teaching media for 4 of his 17 years of teaching. One of Mr. Heckey’s biggest passions in media is showing his students that although videos can require hard work to create, they are worth the effort to have a lasting project that lives on after school is over. His students’ hard work shows in the three SEVAs they took home during this last year’s award night. If you look in his classroom, it’s no surprise that his favorite SEVA category is creative expression. He gives his students the flexibility to create whatever they are passionate about, and is always there to help in any way he can. Just this past year, submissions from his students involved everything from recycling, to school ghosts, germs and the golden rule! Student creativity not only shined, but it was clear that it was encouraged and nurtured by Mr. Heckey. Thank you, Mr. Heckey for your constant curiosity and eagerness to learn! We can’t wait to see what you will accomplish in the future of media!
Tammy Null of Florence Markofer Elementary
Our SEVA Teacher of the Week is Tammy Null of Florence Markofer Elementary in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Mrs. Null has been teaching for over 18 years, and has not lost a single ounce of her enthusiasm. Her excitement is contagious at SEVA events, as well as in her classroom. It is incredible to witness Mrs. Null instill confidence in her students to create their first videos. Although she is a master at making the best of what equipment she has, her studio was given a needed upgrade this year with a SEVA grant. With her help, her students are sure to be able to accomplish great things with the new equipment. Mrs. Null loves sharing her passion with others and it shows! When her students were asked about their SEVA experience, a constant theme was how much she had shared her vast knowledge with them in meaningful ways. Mrs. Null is looking toward the future to see what new technology it will bring for her classroom. We have no doubt that she will continue to be an integral part of the SEVA community. Thank you, Mrs. Null for your contagious enthusiasm and passion! We are proud of all you have contributed to your students, as well as to the SEVA program itself.
2018 Allan Hinderstein winner Joann Darrow
Our SEVA Teacher of the Week recognizes teachers that go above and beyond when it comes to media, and Joann Darrow is the perfect example. Joann has been teaching for 17 years and has made an everlasting impression on her students. She was awarded the 2018 Hinderstein Award for her commitment to integrate videos as a tool for opening a world of learning possibilities for her students. It’s this commitment and her excitement about the future of media that makes her truly great. She is always looking to grow and change with her students and knows the value that students feel when they are a part of something bigger than the classroom. Joann has learned that not only is she teaching her students, but they are teaching her at the same time and they are often times the best teachers! When speaking to the students in her classroom each one had their own story about how Joann had helped them grow their passion in media. Our SEVA program would not be the same without her and the over 130 videos her students have entered since 2012. Thank you Joann for all that you do and for being such a great contributor to the SEVA Program!