Note: The Educator Spotlight recognizes those who contribute to the education of local students. Educators were chosen by consulting with site PTSA (Parent Teacher and Student Association) and ASB (Associated Student Body) as well as staff recommendations. They were chosen for their reputations with students, staff, parents and the community.

By Barbara Ransom

For educator Amy Cordes, teaching is a family affair. Cordes’s mom taught at Grant Elementary School where Cordes currently teaches next door to one of her mom’s former students. Cordes’s three children also attended school in Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), so she’s been a teacher and parent in the community. She says, “I’ve put the P and T in PTA! And felt a huge connection to the community.”

Amy Cordes taught for six years before joining SMMUSD to follow in her mother’s footsteps. She is currently a 4th grade teacher at Grant Elementary School and feels 4th grade is one of the best grade levels. They get to read novels, like Island of the Blue Dolphins, and learn about California history: missions, ranches, and the gold rush. She finds nothing “more exciting” than that. Sometimes she thinks math might be her “favorite subject,” but then she also loves “creating electric circuits so science is the best.” But then they simulate mining for gold and social studies is “number one” again!

Having taught in SMMUSD for 17 years, between Grant and Roosevelt, Cordes considers teaching an ever-changing “new adventure.”

In her own words:

“I just hope my enthusiasm for learning is contagious to my students and they continue to find joy and happiness in learning and making new connections to the world around us.

“I have been keeping busy recently at school taking on the responsibilities of Math Coach and Professional Development Leader. I like to work with other teachers as well as students so I get to do that when I am coaching math instruction and working with my colleagues.

“I also think that supporting my profession is truly important, so I am an active member of Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teacher’s Association (SMMCTA).”