School: James Monroe High
District: Los Angeles Unified School District
County: Los Angeles County
Region: Southern California
Grade: High School
Subject: Science, Arts
Award Year: 2008
Lewis Chappelear teaches engineering design at James Monroe High School in North Hills in the Los Angeles Unified School District (Los Angeles County). He is also the school’s IMPACT crisis coordinator.
“I am honored to recognize Mr. Chappelear not only as one of California’s best teachers, but also as one of America’s finest as I nominate him for the nation’s top tribute,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell. “He thoroughly understands this century’s demand for intelligent, skilled workers and our students’ need for relevant, in-demand skills. Mr. Chappelear is an inspiring, motivating teacher who challenges his students to think about the future, then takes them out into the community and shows them what it will take to achieve their goals.”
In Mr. Chappelear’s application for the California Teachers of the Year Program, he wrote:
“Today’s classrooms lack relevance. In the past 20 years, the number of jobs that require an associate’s degree or specialized certification has jumped from 20 percent to 60 percent.Learning is about sharing and having an ability to change. Our educational institutions should be more about dynamic growth than static factory models. Our classrooms should not sit like desolate islands far from any collaboration, surveying, or idea sharing with others. Students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members should all have their doors and minds open – let the sharing begin.”
Mr. Chappelear earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University in 1994, a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University in 1995, and a California Clear Teaching Credential in math, physics, and electronics in 2001. He received a National Board Certification in 2005.