School: James Monroe High School
District: Los Angeles Unified School District
County: Los Angeles County
Region: Southern California
Grade: High School
Award Year: 2017
“Teaching is an act of social justice. To be a teacher is to be an agent for change. It is a dynamic profession that promotes lifelong learning, as well as ongoing challenges to analyze student data to drive our instruction and rethink our approaches to pedagogy so that all learners’ needs are met.” — Isela Lieber
Lieber has been teaching for ten years, the last four at James Monroe High School as an English, English as a Second Language (ESL), and ESL science teacher. As an immigrant who came to the U.S. with a seventh grade education and very little knowledge of the English language, she strongly identifies with her students, leading by example and sharing her personal story.
Lieber sponsors SUCCEED, a student club that provides information and support to first-generation high school graduates, all English learners, most economically disadvantaged, and helps them become future first-generation college students. Under her leadership, SUCCEED provides after school workshops on applying for financial aid as well as community workshops for parents on the importance and process of college.
Chris Rosas, Principal, James Monroe High School, said of Lieber, “Her example to our students is living proof of a strong commitment to student achievement. As an immigrant herself, English learner, and first-generation college student, she makes a daily commitment to serve by leading by example. She models effective teaching strategies and holds all staff and students to high standards with their classroom practices.”