Corcoran Unified School District has introduced over 30 new teachers this year. They are being spotlighted to provide them a warm welcome to the community.
By Donnetta Murray
Judy Escobedo grew up in Visalia, where she continues to reside. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in liberal studies at CSU-Fresno. She has a multiple subject teaching credential with a BCLAS-D, as well as an education specialist instructional credential.
Judy’s home is filled with two cats and a yellow lab named Hero’s Golden Arrow (Arrow for short). She loves reading and that is what you’ll find her doing during any free time she has (usually during holidays and summer vacation).
She is currently working as an RSP teacher at both Kings Lake and John Muir. She states she has been very warmly welcomed at both sites and is looking forward to a great year!
“I believe that all students can and do learn when given the proper resources and opportunities, especially students with special needs who need that added boost of encouragement and understanding,” she said.
Kelly Houston grew up in Hanford, attending Pioneer schools and Hanford High School, where she graduated in 2011. She finished her upper education at Fresno State University where she graduated in 2014 with a bachelor of arts in liberal studies. While she has no prior teaching experience, her mother taught in Corcoran for 16 years and she says she learned a lot from her as she was in and out of her mom’s classroom her whole life.
She has two dogs: a black cocker named Crissy, one year old, and a seven-year-old Chihuahua named Chloe. She claims they are her “daughters” and she always calls them “my girls/the girls.” She enjoys reading, writing and riding horses, as well as spending time with her family.
Houston is teaching fifth grade at Mark Twain. She is looking forward to getting to know her co-workers and the use of technology! Her teaching philosophy is short and simple: Every student can learn.
Carri Holt is a homegrown Corcoran girl who graduated from CHS in 1991. She attended University of Phoenix, where she earned a bachelors of psychology and is working towards her masters of education and multiple subject teaching credential. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked for CUSD for 18 years, most recently as the principal’s secretary at Mark Twain.
Carri shares her home with her “awesome” fiancé Ed Larkin (an administrator at CHS) and her children Kayli, 21, and Dawson, 14. They have two dogs: a yellow Lab named Duke and a ShihTzu named Maddie. She enjoys making old furniture new again, home decorating and gardening succulents. When away from work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends on the beach, camping, riding motorcycles and enjoying the fresh coastal air.
She will be teaching fifth grade at Mark Twain. She plans to continue to work hard to help every student succeed. Her teaching philosophy?
“I believe that every student can learn when given the opportunity. It is our job to find out how each child learns and make it a priority to help that child grow in every way possible,” Holt stated.
Jennie Valdez is a hometown girl who was born and raised “in the wonderful city of Corcoran.” She attended College of the Sequoias directly out of high school, then transferred to Fresno Pacific University where she earned a bachelor of arts in liberal studies. She is currently working on a masters in education. She began her career with CUSD as a teacher’s aide at Mark Twain Elementary. After three years, she decided to finish her education and substitute in the district prior to being hired as a teacher.
She has been married to a Corcoranite for seven years. They have a “beautiful two-year-old princess” named Emma, who is the sunshine of their lives. She has played piano for 23 years and enjoys teaching it. She loves spending time with her family as they laugh and eat good home cooked meals together.
Jennie is teaching fifth grade math and science at Mark Twain this year. She looks forward to making positive lasting impressions on her students and hopes to foster a love for learning that can evolve into a lifetime of education for them. She states that someone once said: “A good education can change anyone, but a good teacher can change everything.” She says a great teacher inspired her, and she hopes to be a teacher that inspires and makes a difference.
Tayza Casillas grew up in Costa Mesa (Orange County) until the age of 20, then moved to Riverside where she studied at the University of California-Riverside, earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She is currently working on her teaching credential through the Tulare Office of Education. While attending college, she worked as a paraprofessional (bilingual assistant with ELL students) for seven years with the Alvord Unified School District in Riverside. When she moved to Kings County in 2013, she worked as a substitute teacher for grades pre-kinder through 12th grade.
Tayza enjoys spending time with her three nephews, who she loves like her own. Hobbies include cooking and making desserts, and she is always willing to try new types of food, as well as looking at recipes in order to adjust them and make them her own. She enjoys spending quality time with her family, getting together, eating and laughing at any joke or any funny thing. Beaches, any beach, are a passion. It is a place where she can enjoy the nature of the ocean; but most importantly go to relax.
She is a first grade teacher at Bret Harte Elementary School. She looks forward to making a positive impact on students in order to help them prepare for a successful journey at CUSD.