Educator of the week

Leo G. Pedregosa 
Roosevelt High School

Los Angeles Unified School District
Favorite Teaching Subjects: Calculus, Statistics and Geometry

Mr. Leo G. Pedregosa uses his classroom not only to teach mathematics, but also to demonstrate to his high school students, the value of hard work. A native of the Philippines, Leo grew up in Panay, Passi, one of the 7,100 islands within the country. As a child, the school he attended lacked the basic resources. There were not enough seats for students, textbooks were outdated by as many as 20 years and materials for science classes were scarce. There were no handouts or worksheets, but students diligently copied everything from the board. In order to complete science experiments, students collected used bottles, cans, cardboard and other recycled materials from their neighborhood. Although supplies were minimal, Leo and his peers remained grateful for their education. He worked tirelessly to learn as much as he could in school. What proved to be equally rewarding in the end, was Leo's new found creativity and work ethic. He learned to use everyday objects to understand math and science concepts and exuded relentless determination in the process.

At 10 years old, Leo knew he wanted to be a teacher. At the time, he had difficulty learning decimals and fractions and was frustrated when his teachers couldn't explain the material well. Determined to learn, he taught himself what teachers could not and vowed to one day become an educator and guide students through the learning process. With persistence and support from his high school algebra teacher, Leo began his own exploration of the subject, and grew to love math.

Ready to make a difference, Leo earned his bachelor's degree in secondary education from the University of San Agustin and his master’s in education from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. He began his career in the classroom as a STEM instructor at Philippine Science High School, a gifted school for math, science and engineering students. While there, he developed a passion for all Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and enjoyed teaching students who showed a real passion for STEM. After 6 years of teaching in the Philippines, Leo embarked on a new journey as an educator. He moved to the United States, enrolled at California State University, Long Beach and received his master’s in applied statistics. After taking courses at the University of California, Los Angeles and San Diego campuses, Leo earned a single subject teaching credential. Since then, Leo has been teaching Statistics, Calculus and Geometry at Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles, California.

A genuine fan of STEM-based education, Leo has participated in Great Minds in STEM's Summer Workshop, collaborating alongside other STEM teachers and learning new resources to bring to the classroom. This year Leo is eager to implement engineering projects in all his classes.

Leo reflects on his childhood and the obstacles he once faced and values those experiences for making him the person he is today. He states, " I believe that hard times will pass if you are intrinsically determined to obtain your goals." He prides himself on his ability to see life from this perspective and shares this message with his students. Leo continues to share these thoughts with his students and continues to remind them that, "to change your reality, you must work hard to get out of it." In his spare time, Leo enjoys hiking, running and reading math and statistics books.

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