School: Lake Center Middle
District: Little Lake City Elementary School District
County: Los Angeles County
Region: Southern California
Grade: Middle School
Subject: Language Arts, History
Award Year: 1994
Over her career, Beth Cassford has taught primarily English Language Arts and social studies. Her teaching experience began in the Little Lake City School District at Lakeside Middle School in 1975. She remained there for twenty-five years before transferring to Lake Center Middle School. Besides English language arts and social studies, Beth coordinated a state Language Arts grant, was involved in the Mentor Teacher Program, headed several district committees, and served as a district staff developer. During the early 1990’s, she was part of a pilot program within her consortium that involved mainstreaming SH and DHH students into heterogenous classroom settings.
Having begun her teaching assignment when the trend was the homogeneously grouping of all students, Beth devoted her career to fighting for heterogenous settings and equity within the classroom: “I find it imperative that all children be given equal opportunity to receive the best and most advanced curriculum I can offer regardless of gender, racial, ethnic, language, or learning disability differences. Classrooms must reflect a true picture of the changing face of our state and society.”
When asked how she survived thirty-six years teaching sixth through eighth graders, she often remarks: “It is an exciting world, and different each day! Middle schoolers are on a personal quest to navigate the labyrinth known as adolescence! There was no other place I’d rather teach!”
Beth attended California State University Fullerton, graduating in 1974 with a degree in English and history, teaching credential in hand. Her accomplishments include: LLCSD Teacher of the Year, Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year, LLCSD Bilingual Teacher of the Year, among others. In 1994, Beth was selected as a California Teacher of the Year, and in 1995, as one of the Disney Channel’s “Disney Presents the American Teacher” awardees.
Beth retired in 2011 from Lake Center Middle School. She and her wife, also a retired educator, live a happy, fulfilled life in Long Beach, California.