Educator of the week

Joe Ojeda 
Bridge Street Elementary School

Los Angeles Unified School District
Categorical Program Adviser
Target Student Program Adviser
Favorite Teaching Subject: Science & Math

Throughout his career as an educator, which spans 15 years, Mr. Joe Ojeda has been serving the community of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, CA by way of Bridge Street Elementary School. At an early age, Mr. Ojeda developed an affinity for working with youth and being a positive role model for students in his community. A product of the community that he serves, and a graduate of nearby California State University, Los Angeles, Mr. Ojeda hopes to further advance his career by adding an advanced degree and an administrator's credential to his repertoire. This is just one of many examples of his passion for his vocation, community, and the youth that he collaborates with and serves.

Mr. Ojeda shared that a not so good experience with his high school Arts class teacher inspired him to pursue a career in education. He vividly recalls one instance, when after having invested so much time and effort into an art project and submitted it for credit, his teacher tore it and asked him to "take his work more seriously." This occurrence proved to Mr. Ojeda that, as he states, "I could do a better job at teaching and inspiring students." And, being a proud Angeleno from Boyle Heights, he knew that he would make a positive difference for students and the community at-large.

In 2012, Mr. Ojeda undertook the role of Teacher Ambassador for the STEM-Up™ Initiative at Bridge Elementary School. As a champion of STEM, he has attended several summer teacher workshops and professional developments to add to his knowledge base and comfort level of STEM subject matter.

He states that getting involved with Great Minds in STEM, through the STEM-Up™ Initiative, was a "natural progression" for him, since he had been the school's science lead teacher for the 4 years prior to accepting the Ambassador role. With his involvement in all things STEM at the school, he felt this opportunity was "the next level and a wonder validation" of everything STEM related that he was already doing. He feels that the STEM movement on his campus is gaining steam, and he is more than comfortable being the driving force that steers it in the right direction.

Through his involvement with the initiative, Mr. Ojeda has been exposed to a variety of STEM opportunities. This exposure has sparked an interest in him to encourage his colleagues at his school to infuse STEM into their curriculum on a regular basis. He has spearheaded an effort on his campus to build a Math lab-that he hopes will ultimately lead to the creation of an afterschool Math club. He feels confident that he will succeed in doing so, since he was a leading supporter of the school's Accelerated Math pilot program. One of his main goals for the year is to improve and grow the school's Science Fair. This will be the 4th year that Bridge will conduct a school wide Science Fair and he hopes to increase the amount of projects and broaden the range of topics being showcased.

In his spare time, Mr. Ojeda enjoys exploring and learning about our universe, listening to a variety of genres of music and playing soccer. As a fútbol aficionado, he hopes to one day attend the World Cup in person, and looks forward to spending his next vacation in the ancient city of Machu Picchu in Peru.

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