Educator of the week

Jose Manuel Salazar 
David Ward Griffith Middle School

For Jose Salazar, his career as an educator goes beyond the traditional 8am-3pm school schedule. His level of commitment to his student success and campus involvement is immeasurable. Each day, he strives to prepare his students for higher learning as he seeks to expose them to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) opportunities .

Jose was born in Guerrero, Mexico and raised in the community of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, CA. He comes from a two parent household and grew up alongside his older sister and younger brother.  Jose attended elementary, middle and high school in Boyle Heights and continued his education at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), an institution less than 3 miles from his home. While at CSULA, he earned a B.S in Industrial Technology and an M.A in Education, with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction in Urban Schools. Fully prepared to re-enter the classroom as an educator, Jose returned to his alma mater, Roosevelt High School, as a teacher for 5 years. Mr. Salazar has lived in Boyle Heights for the past 34 years and he is not only invested in his community, but the career path of the future leaders within it as well.

Jose's passion for education and dedication to his craft began in his high school Automotive Technology class. He remembers how confident his Automotive Technology class made him feel as a student. He was able to make the connections between this class and his other core academic classes, giving him confidence academically, and empowering him to help others succeed. He took it upon himself to help his peers, wanting them to experience the same success that he experienced. When his Automotive and Technology teacher and mentor inspired him to take that passion for teaching others to the next level, he was inspired to teach more peers outside of just his elective class. His mentor saw Jose's potential and recognized the benefit his skills and knowledge would have on future generations in his community. He told Jose, "the only way these skills and knowledge would be passed on, would have to by an educator. " Those words were all it took to inspire Jose to pursue a career in education.

For Jose, STEM offers students the ability to make connections across multiple academic disciplines. It allows them to develop a deeper understanding of their courses, encourages alternative approaches to problem-solving and demands critical thinking. Jose believes the outcome is simple, STEM gives students the "skills to use in any aspect of their lives." Excited to share this impact with a new crop of students, Jose's STEM goals for the year include: Designing, Building, Testing, Modifying and Creating reports on various projects. He wants to ensure that his students, like himself, make the interdisciplinary connections between subject matter and begin to master the scientific design process.

Jose arrives to campus early and allows students to use the computers for assignments and offers additional help to those students in the Exploring Technology class. He invests time not only in his individual classes, but contributes to the positive school climate at David Ward Griffith Middle School. He attends school events and applauds his students contributions to the campus and community. Currently, Jose is working with the magnet coordinator on campus to begin the transition from Science and Technology to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics in order to give students more course options in STE"A"M.

In his spare time, Jose enjoys fishing and camping at Lake Isabella, do-it-yourself projects and traveling, especially to his birthplace, Guerrero, Mexico.

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