Tiffany Jokerst

A math and engineering teacher at West Hills High School in Santee was named Friday as one of California’s Teachers of the Year.

Tiffany Jokerst, who teaches grades 9 through 12, is one of “five outstanding and talented teachers who have gone above and beyond during a challenging time in education, and in our lives,” according to a statement from the California Department of Education.

Jokerst was the lone San Diego County educator honored on Friday by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. Other honorees came from districts in Alhambra, Orange County and Palm Springs.

“Tiffany is a shining example of an educator who works tirelessly to ensure that her students are engaged and poised for success, both in school and beyond,” San Diego County superintendent Paul Gothold said. “She has persevered through challenging times and remains dedicated to elevating all her students. We are proud to have her represent all San Diego County teachers.”

Theresa Kemper, superintendent for the Grossmont Union High School District that West Hills belongs to, said, “With the heart of a servant, Tiffany Jokerst goes to extraordinary lengths to meet the learning needs of each of her students. She’s a brilliant and innovative educator who opens her students’ eyes, no matter where they come from, to both the wonder and accessibility of mathematics.”

Jokerst also will be honored Sunday as one of five San Diego County Teachers of the Year at Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers.

A teacher for 15 years, Jokerst said one of the job’s most rewarding aspects is seeing students who were initially apprehensive about math bloom into confident learners.

She said she celebrates “uniqueness” in her classes while attempting to “create experiences that draw from real-life scenarios.”

“Students have commented that before my class, they always felt that math should be done in one way, but now they strive to be the student that finds a different way to solve problems,” she said.

A student of Jokerst’s, identified as Anna, said, “Mrs. Jokerst, without fail, made sure myself and each of her students felt welcome, and ensured they had a safe, comfortable place to learn. She greeted our class every morning with energy and enthusiasm to teach and made learning in her class fun and something I looked forward to daily.”

Jokerst is the first San Diego County teacher to be named a California Teacher of the Year since 2017. Jaime Brown, an English and film studies teacher at San Diego High School of International Studies, received the honor.

The Grossmont Union High School District is also the only California district to have teachers named among California’s top teachers in both 2021 and 2022. Last year, El Capitan High School Economics and Government teacher Jay Tweet was a Teacher of the Year finalist.

– City News Service

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