Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School
After 20 years at Santa Ana's Spurgeon Intermediate, Teresa Garcia joined Mendez Fundamental Intermediate starting in fall 2011.
At Mendez, she teaches 8th grade Algebra 1 and is part of the team that teaches 6th grade Honors Math.
She has a Masters Degree from Cal State Los Angeles in Child Development with an emphasis in Parent Education, a Bachelors Degree from Cal State Fullerton in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in education and a minor in Chicano as well as an AA Degree from Santa Ana College. She has been very involved with the UC Irvine Math Project and different math initiatives that UCI has sponsored.
On being asked what her inspiration was in becoming a math teacher, she replied: "I've known that I wanted to be a teacher since 4th grade because I had this fantastic teacher named Mr. Reiman and I wanted to be like him. Now becoming a math teacher is a funny story. I actually did not like math very much growing up. I had a hard time 'getting it.' It wasn't until I was an instructional assistant that I was in a class with a phenomenal teacher, Ms. Green. She taught math in such a way that it made so much sense. When I applied to be a teacher at Spurgeon, I actually took her position."
On lessons learned from her students: "I learn lessons everyday from my students. One of the most important lessons is to 'keep it real.'"
On STEM: "I was a part of STEM when I was working on my Masters at Cal State Los Angeles. It actually opened another world for me. One of the most important things we can do to keep the spark of STEM alive in this country is to continue to showcase programs like RST at the schools. Ensure that programs like RST are brought up at PTA meetings to present it to the parents. Sometimes, students need an extra push from home. RST needs to be presented in 6th and 7th grade; not so much to be in it but to plant the seed as to an opportunity they will have once they are in 8th grade."
When she's not teaching, she has three teenage sons to keep her busy, but still finds time to cycle 20 to 30 miles per week and to stay active in her church.