Educator of the week

Joel Escobar 
Sunrise Elementary School

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

Throughout his 24 years as an educator, Mr. Joel A. Escobar has held a variety of leadership positions and taught numerous grade levels. Currently, he is a member of the Sunrise Elementary School family, located within the community of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, CA. At an early age, Mr. Escobar developed an affinity for making his community a safer place, he originally envisioned himself pursuing a career in law enforcement as his profession of choice, but due to a vision impairment he wasn't accepted as a qualified applicant. He did not let this decision get in the way of his journey. As such, he then turned his attention to the education field and a career working with young people "to improve our society/culture by helping to educate children." His passion for his vocation extends beyond the classroom, as he has also undertaken mentorship roles as a lead teacher for Teach for America during his summer breaks for the past several years. And, has also worked as an educator for youth in juvenile camps in the evenings and weekends.

Mr. Escobar credits Ms. Joni, his 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade teacher, whom he was privileged to have, as an inspiration for not only teaching him to read but instilling the confidence in him to succeed. He vividly remembers one of her sayings, "that a good reader can learn and master anything they set their sights on." To this day Mr. Escobar refers back to that mantra and integrates it into his teaching style

In 2012, Mr. Escobar became the Ambassador for the STEM-Up™ Initiative at Sunrise Elementary. As a champion of STEM, he has attended several teacher workshops and professional developments to add to his repertoire of teaching. He acknowledges that teaching science was a scary endeavor for him since he doesn't have a background in STEM education. But, by developing and fostering STEM partnerships for his school, it has empowered him to feel confident to teach STEM curriculum to his students and motivate them to pursue a STEM college and career pathway.

Through his involvement with the STEM-Up™ Initiative, Mr. Escobar has become exposed to a broad range of STEM opportunities. This exposure has sparked an interest in him to motivate more teachers at his school to teach STEM. And, he has spearheaded an effort on his campus to build a STEM lab that he hopes will serve as a model for future STEM labs within the Boyle Heights community. One of his main goals for Sunrise's STEM lab is to have it fully functional.

During his spare time, Joel enjoys playing basketball with family and friends. And he also enjoys listening to Spanish music - especially live Mariachi!

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