California Educator

September 2014

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LEGISLATOR PROFILE: Profile Assembly Member Cristina Garcia Compiled by Len Feldman A S S E M B LY M E M B E R Cristina Garcia was elected in November 2012 to serve California's 58th Assembly District, including Artesia, Bell- flower, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Montebello, Pico Rivera and Norwalk. Before joining the Assembly, Ms. Garcia served as a statistics instructor at the University of Southern California (USC) and a mathematics instructor at Los Angeles City Community College. She also taught middle school and high school students through the Jaime Escalante Program at East Los Angeles Community College and Huntington Park High School. What are your hopes for public education? I hope that we adequately fund our public education system to ensure all our kids can achieve their potential. On a personal level, I hope we change how the public sees math. Math doesn't have to be something we hate or are scared of. I am not just saying this be- cause I love math and think it is beautiful, but because the fields that are fastest growing all require at least a basic understanding of mathematics. What did you do before becoming a lawmaker? I was a math teacher for 13 years, and I taught everything from middle school to college. What did you learn from your years as a teacher? Two things worked for me as a student and as teacher. All the teachers that impacted me helped me embrace and capitalize on what I was good at. Their efforts gave me some- thing to look forward to. These teachers were also creative and thought outside the box. They would never take no for an answer. As a teacher I really tried to show my stu- dents that I respected them as individuals and that we were partners in the process. I shared with them my love of math every day and my expectations that they could all learn. That all worked for me. What led you to run for office? A sense of responsibility. Redistricting gave me the opportunity to step up and be the type of leader we had been fighting for within our community. A leader who is accessible, who partners with the community, who creates a shared agenda that reflects the district's needs — one who leads with integrity. Who was the teacher who had the greatest impact on you? My first-grade teacher bolstered our self-es- teem by referring to us as her "intellectuals." My third-grade teacher sat with me every day to help me learn to read in English. My fifth-grade teacher encouraged me to take part in the Math Olympics. My seventh-grade teacher sent me to her colleague's math class because I was not challenged enough in hers. My ninth-grade teacher encouraged me to be civically engaged. My chemistry teacher got me enrolled at Cal State Long Beach because there were not enough AP classes for me. And there were many more. What advice would you give educators about working with the legislators? Knock on all our doors, knock often, and hold us accountable. Remind us that just because we attended school for 12 years or more, we don't necessarily know what makes a good teacher or a good school. Let us know what educators need to help every student succeed. CUI.EDU/INDUCTION Concordia's Clear Induction Credential program supports new teachers in clearing their Education Specialist, Multi- or Single- Subject Credential. Participating teachers may clear more than one credential at the same time. CUI's program is the clear choice because we: • Offer online and traditional program options • Accommodate new teachers' busy schedules • Provide fl exible, individualized programs • Facilitate sharing of resources among teachers • Advance collaboration with local districts and private schools Participants may be eligible for fi nancial aid and credits may be used towards a graduate degree. For more information, call 949-214-3338, email or visit us online. The Clear Choice.

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