Los Al's Latest Outstanding Arts Educators

Each year, the Orange County Department of Education honors the outstanding arts educators throughout the county.  LAUSD is home to three of this year’s honorees.  McGaugh Art Teacher Terri Epps was given the additional award as the Teacher of the Year for Special Education.  The OCMAA awards ceremony took place May 4th at Segerstrom Center.  Congratulations all!
 
Terri Epps- Outstanding Arts Educator for Special Education.  
Special EducationTeacher of the Year  Award for 2016
 
Terri Epps is the art teacher at McGaugh Elementary School, where she includes the special education 

students in all aspects of the program.  Each year, she enters the special education students into the Countywide Annual VSA Festival, showcasing the artistic abilities of individuals with disabilities.  She also includes the special needs population in McGaugh’s Pageant of the Arts.  In Terri’s 24 years in education – 19 at McGaugh , she has always looked to upgrade her own teaching skills by attending workshops for educators and utilizing her own abilities as an artist to make the visual arts come alive with students in special education.
 
Terri realizes the importance of art with ALL students.  She takes a special interest in serving the special needs students through making adaptations and implementing programs to help the students succeed…and to foster their love for creating art.  Outside her regular classroom activities, Terri has been involved as a teaching artist and presenter at the annual VSA Festival, showcasing the artistic accomplishments of individuals with disabilities.  She utilizes her own talents in the visual arts to create workshops that are effective with special needs students as with their siblings.  These workshops also show parents the value of the arts and how they, too, can be creative with their kids in leisure time activities at home.
(by Phyllis Berenbein, OCDE Consultant)
 
 
 
Jeff Carthew – Outstanding Arts Educator for Visual Art, Secondary
 
Mr. Carthew has consistently found ways to connect kids to creative outlets.  Specifically, he builds their self-efficacy as they learn they have the capacity to team and apply advanced ceramics techniques and create beautiful works of art.  He models, verbally persuades students, and scaffolds instruction so that all students of all levels can achieve.  Mr. Carthew has delivered a ceramics curriculum that includes science concepts as students must understand chemical reactions, paint variations, and the effects of heat on clay among others.  He makes this an explicit part of his teaching so that students learn the science behind the process.  
 
Students typically stay in the ceramics program after the introductory year and several explore other options in the fine arts such as painting and drawing.  As well, many of Mr. Carthew’s students do well in other classes and apply their skills at collaboration accordingly.  Mr. Carthew has consistently taught a summer ceramics course through the Los Alamitos Education Foundation as a way to increases the access to fine arts for students who may not have opportunities.
(by LAHS Principal Brandon Martinez)
 
 
Justin Padilla  - Outstanding Arts Educator for Instrumental Music, Secondary
 
Justin Padilla has shared his passion and love for instrumental music education with the students at Oak MS for the last 11 years.  When Justin came to Oak, there were only 2 sections of music: beginning band and advanced band. Today, thanks to Justin’s vision, we have 3 sections of band, 2 sections of orchestra, 2 sections of jazz band, and a 6th grade introductory ukulele section.  … His warmth and passion is so inviting to students that many join his music classes having never played an instrument before.  His gentle approach welcomes students to try out a variety of instruments.  He created an environment that is filled with musicians, inspired students, and delighted parents.  His constant encouragement has created award winning students who compete in music levels far beyond their years.
 
Justin connected with local musicians who were willing to visit his class as volunteers.  He acts to inspire, coach, and cheer on these young musicians.   He conducts master classes and is always available for his students.  He inspires others to go on to careers in music.  He can be seen playing his sax at local venues., and former students join in.  Students compete at Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, one of the few middle school jazz bands to compete.  He has taken the jazz ensemble to perform at NAMM, SCSBOA. Reno Jazz Festival, Fullerton College Jazz Festival, Irvine HS,  and South Hills Jazz festivals.  At Esperanza Jazz, they competed in the advanced MS division.  Orchestra students were recently invited to play for the mayor of Los Alamitos State of the City address.  
 
Justin is the guest conductor of the SC Honors Jazz Band in San Jose, the CA All State Honor Jazz Band., and conductor and performer at NAMM.  Other engagements include the Jazz ensemble for Los Alamitos Ed Foundation Gala, Taste for Los Al, Youth Center Fundraiser Kickoff, Rossmoor Parade, Disneyland Community Arts Series, Disney California Adventure Community Showcase, Disneyland Recording Tracks, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Wings, Wheels, and Rotors at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Base.  
Justin Padilla is the face of Los Alamitos Music Education
(written by Oak MS Principal Erin Kominsky)
 
These three outstanding teachers are the latest to join the ranks of other LAUSD faculty who have received OCMAA honors:
Vocal Music: David Moellenkamp, Suzanne McElderry, Coralie Prince, the late Dr. Randi Carp, Beverly Chaffee 
Instrumental Music: Justin Padilla, Chuck Wackerman
Dance: Rikki Jones
Theatre: Stacy Castiglione (awarded in another school district but now at LAHS)
Local Advocacy Network:  the group of school district arts alliances throughout OC, including Los Alamitos Alliance for Arts Education, which is organized by Donna Chinn