UCI's School of Education is appreciative of the ongoing contributions of our alumni to the field of education and to the youth and adults that they have chosen to serve. We encourage our alumni to send us updates so we can share your accomplishments. Our February 2019 feature below highlights educator Susan Groff and her former student, current middle school teacher Heriberto Olive.
In 2013, Susan Groff was a highly respected teacher at Middle College High School in Santa Ana. That summer, Heriberto Olive, one of her former students who was enrolled in the Teacher Credential Program at UC Irvine, decided Ms. Groff was an ideal candidate for the Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teacher of America award. Heriberto composed and submitted his nomination letter, and Ms. Groff was selected as a 2013 Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teacher of America.
Read more: Susan Groff's 2013 Reflections on her Honor
Since receiving her outstanding teacher honor, Ms. Groff has continued to inspire her students at Middle College High School while enriching the lives of others, including students and teachers beyond our borders. She served as a Teacher for Global Classrooms Fellow in the Philippines in 2015, teaching English strategies. Also in 2015, as part of her continuing effort to encourage other teachers to implement space science into their curriculum, she took her second flight aboard NASA SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy). In 2016, she taught with Partners for the Americas Panama Teacher Match. Summer 2018, she participated in a dinosaur dig through the University of Washington DIG Field School. At the present, she is working closely with Manuella Yassa at UCI's Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM) to organize and promote the first annual Brain Bee in Orange County, and she has just been notified of her selection as a Science Communication Fellow for the 2019 Ocean Exploration Trust.
Philippines Teachers for Global Classrooms, 2015
United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
NASA SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) Flight, 2015
In submitting his Carlston nomination for Susan Groff, Heriberto Olive wrote: "Before meeting Ms. Groff, I was just a typical barrio Hispanic boy. She did for me what no other teacher then or since could do. She sparked an interest in me to learn and to look well beyond my getting a high school diploma. She motivated me to find my calling - to become a high school biology teacher."
Heriberto earned his Master of Arts in Teaching/Single Subject Teacher Credential from UCI and has been teaching science at Costa Mesa Middle School for the past five years. In addition to teaching, Heriberto has taken on the roles of mentor and instructional coach with an emphasis on Respond to Intervention. This past year, he was selected as one of 200 science teachers in the United States to attend the Regeneron Science for Society Conference in Washington, D.C. Heriberto currently teaches various courses in the science field, including AP Environmental Science, honors biology, biology, and 7th grade science.