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.

Patti Mehring’s mother was a teacher, and Mehring “spent many happy hours in her classroom, helping out and learning from her incredible example.” Mehring has been teaching off and on since college, but she took about 10 years off to raise her four children. In that time they spent a good deal of time moving around. They’ve lived in Venice, West L.A., Irvine and overseas in Germany for four years. She and her children have experienced private, public and German schools.

However, she feels “the schools in Malibu provided them a wonderful environment and education, as well as an outstanding preparation for college; all four have graduated.”

Mehring has been teaching for about 18 years in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in many capacities: substituting, job-sharing and working in special education in grades K-12. For the last 10 years she’s been at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School as part of the K-1 team. She’s gained much inspiration and experience from an “excellent role model” with whom she had the “good fortune of job-sharing for five years at Juan Cabrillo: Barbara Morgan.”

In her own words

“What I love most about teaching is creating an atmosphere in my classroom where my students can’t help but learn; a community where they feel safe, respected, and challenged. One of the most exciting things about teaching this age is when they connect the skills needed to begin reading.

“I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather teach. I love working in a community that values their children’s education so much, and with a staff that is incredibly talented, experienced, and just fun to work with.

“My daughter is now carrying on in this noble profession and is presently in her first year of teaching. She recently gave me the book “The Element” by Ken Robinson to read. It’s filled with wonderful quotes. One is, ‘Great teachers have always understood that the real role is not to teach subjects but to teach students.’ What I want most for my students to learn is to be good people and to help others.”