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Alumnus Named a California Teacher of the Year

Nov. 26, 2012

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Cal State Fullerton alumnus David Goldenberg, a history teacher at Beckman High School in Irvine, is a 2013 California Teacher of the Year.

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When Cal State Fullerton alumnus David Goldenberg teaches U.S. and world history, he engages his high school students in learning, making the past come alive. He views his 16-year career as an educator a "calling to serve his country in a profession that has meaning."

Because of his outstanding teaching, Goldenberg was named a 2013 California Teacher of the Year, as well as a 2013 Orange County Teacher of the Year.

"Every school day, he teaches as if it's a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the lives of his students," said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, when he announced the award earlier this month.

Goldenberg was one of five teachers across the state selected for the top teaching honor. Honorees, Torlakson noted, have shown the kind of "skill, passion and dedication that exemplify the very best of the most important, most demanding and most rewarding profession there is: teaching."

Since 2005, Goldenberg has taught 10th- and 11th-grade history at Arnold O. Beckman High School in the Tustin Unified School District. He teaches advanced placement and honors classes in world history and advanced placement classes in U.S. history. Previously, he served nine years teaching world history at A.G. Currie Middle School in Tustin, where he was named Teacher of the Year in 2003.

Goldenberg also has received other teaching accolades, including Tustin Unified School District and Beckman High School's 2012 Teacher of the Year.

The educator, who earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1993 and a master of science in education-educational administration in 2001, will be honored at a state gala in February. Goldenberg lives in Foothill Ranch with his wife and their three children.

In addition to teaching, Goldenberg has provided staff development, mentorship and training for other teachers and is keeping his career opportunities open to possibly one day work in school administration.

"Administration is not so much a goal, rather it is an option — another avenue to serving students' educational needs," he said.

He reflects on his teaching career and education experiences at Cal State Fullerton.

What does it mean to you to be named a top educator?

Being recognized as a California Teacher of the year is extraordinarily humbling. This honor is really a recognition of the amazing teaching mentors and partners that I have been fortunate to have worked with, in addition to an incredible group of students.

What inspires you most about teaching?

I love that each day I am blessed to work with remarkable students who possess a set of unique experiences and talents that have helped to shape who they are. My constant refrain to my students is, 'Our efforts reflect who we are, and thus we must commit ourselves in every endeavor to putting forth our best effort.' I do not see a student as they are today, but as the person that they can become; I want my students to see possibilities, to overcome adversity and to become the best versions of themselves.

How did your education at CSUF help you achieve your career goal?

Rather than a particular class, it was a collection of experiences that have proven to be invaluable in both my becoming a teacher, as well as any success that I have experienced. My participation as a New Student Orientation Planning Committee member and leader, in addition to my experience in Pi Kappa Phi, provided me with practical experience in leadership. It was in these organizations that I really grew up. Today, I utilize the lessons that I learned during my time at Cal State Fullerton every day in my classroom.

Any faculty mentors who mentored you in your college journey?

Dr. Ronald Rietveld [emeritus professor of history] was an exceptional person and amazing storyteller. Dr. Rietveld really emphasized the concept that history is a story. Dr. Barbara Stone [emeritus professor of political science] also was an exceptional teacher. Dr. Stone took the time to get to know her students. Teaching is about relationships, and both Dr. Stone and Rietveld built relationships with their students. They were professional, knowledgeable and approachable. Both of these educators cared about student learning.

What advice can you share about becoming an educator?

I can think of no other profession that can bring an individual the satisfaction that accompanies a career as a teacher. What other profession can make you a better person? If you do the job well, you have made a difference; your days have meaning. No two days will look alike, and you will find joy in things that you too often overlook. As a teacher, you are constantly reminded what is important: People — not possessions or achievements — are the priority.

By: Debra Cano Ramos, 657-278-4027

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