The Educator Spotlight recognizes those who contribute to the education of local students. Educators were chosen by consulting with site PTA, student government organizations and staff. Educators were chosen for their reputations with students, staff, parents and the community.

Tisha Reichle, a former Blythe Rodeo Queen, was “tricked” into being a teacher. She took one dducation class during graduate school where a requirement sent her to observe a high school classroom. The teacher of that class asked her to sub for her while she attended a conference, and from that day on Reichle was “hooked.”

Now, 18 years into teaching (16 in SMMUSD) Reichle says, “Being able to manipulate, I mean influence, the lives of young people is what fuels me. The kids are all that matters, or at least they should be. I arrive in my classroom every morning passionate about guiding my students towards becoming more socially conscious human beings, so they can make responsible choices in their lives.”

Because of this passion, Reichle enjoys ending the year in 9th grade English with “Animal Dreams” by Barbara Kingsolver, and with “Mother Tongue” by Demetria Martinez  because, she says, “The stories inspire students to consider their role in the world, what they can do to improve their society.”

In her tenure with SMMUSD, Riechle, a “passionate lover of language,” has taught ninth, eleventh and twelfth grade English (including a women’s literature course), Freshman Seminar, courses for English learners at a variety of levels, student literacy support, and AVID. In line with the new California State Standards, her teaching “has always been focused on active, critical reading to inform students thinking and prepare them to develop their writing.” She is also a lifelong learner and hopes her students benefit from her example, as she completes her Ph.D in Feminist Studies.

IN HER OWN WORDS

“When students make a concerted effort to participate in the learning process and subsequently improve their reading and writing skills, all of my time and energy are rewarded. It is encouraging to receive emails from former students about how they implement what they learned in their college classes. I even had a student in the military return to say how his active reading enabled him to do so well that he had his choice of assignments after basic training.

“When I’m not teaching or writing, I spend time with my fellow Bruins at UCLA football games.

“Both my writing and teaching are inspired by Barbara Kingsolver. Her novels and the novels awarded her Bellwether Prize epitomize the socially conscious fiction I aspire to write. (Keep an eye out for the novel I’m currently working on to be on bookshelves in the future.)

“Prior to living in Los Angeles, I spent my childhood in rural areas, raising livestock and competing in Junior Rodeos. I was the Blythe Rodeo Queen in 1989. This reality is also reflected in my fiction writing: www.tishareichle.com.”

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