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.

Jessica Katz – Lincoln Middle School

Jessica Katz is in her 6th year of teaching, her 3rd in SMMUSD, previously teaching in Fountain Valley in Orange County. She has a long history of working with kids and has always loved it. She’s worked as a baby sitter, camp counselor and at a Kids Club at a gym. She is currently teaching math and ASB/Leadership at Lincoln Middle School and has also taught public speaking, cooking and will teach dance this summer. Math was always her favorite subject. “I liked that there was a method and an answer,” says Katz.

Katz Speaks

I had two incredible math teachers in 7th and 8th grade who inspired me to want to teach math. They encouraged me, challenged me, and stayed positive that I was good at math, even when I did not do so well on a test. I want to be them for my students.

One of my favorite topics to teach is percents. This includes discount, markup, tip, tax, simple interest, and commission. With the help of another teacher, I designed various activities related to these topics. For example, for the commission lesson, students pretend to be car salesmen and realtors. They sell cars and homes of various prices and calculate their commission based on the sales they brought in. Students have a blast with this activity, trying to see who can make the most commission. Because this unit is so connected to students and their experiences, great real-life conversations are had about these different topics.

One of my favorite parts of being a teacher is those “ah-ha” moments students have when something just finally clicks for them. I know I’ve done a job well when students leave my classroom and thank me for teaching them as they leave for their next class.