Stanley Middle School Special Education teacher, Brian Mangold, was recognized as Teacher of the Year at the Lafayette School District Governing Board meeting Wednesday night.
Mangold said he could not have achieved the award without the extensive support he's enjoyed during his six years at Stanley. "I'm certainly humbled by this award because there are a lot of other deserving teachers out there. I don't think I could have done it without the support of the administration and my aides – without the team of people I work with on a daily basis," he said.
Mangold's career unfolded over time, and took some interesting dips and turns.
"It has been a bit of a serendipitous journey," he said. "I majored in economics and psychology at UC Davis and wasn't quite sure where I wanted to go with that."
But after graduation Mangold took a job with the residential treatment facility at Families First in Sacramento and worked with adolescent boys with severe behavioral issues. A former camp counselor, he realized he still enjoyed working with kids and began working in the classroom. When the teacher he worked with went out on medical leave, Mangold obtained his emergency teaching credential to fill the vacancy. Realizing he was on a life's course, he pursued his Master's Degree at Teachers College at Columbia University, arriving in New York just one week before September 11, 2001.
A native of the Bay Area, Mangold returned from New York and continued his work with behaviorally challenged middle school and high school students at the Spectrum Center. "I was looking for an opportunity to work in a public school and had the opportunity to work with Dana Sassone (Lafayette School District Director of Student Services)," said Mangold. "I was incredibly impressed by her level of knowledge and expertise and we really share the same philosophy."
Mangold appears at home in Lafayette. "I feel really blessed to work in this district. Lafayette is so supportive of students with special needs and it makes my life so much easier because my students are so well received," said Mangold.
And Mangold is clearly a popular guy on campus. "I like to take a detour by his classroom because I always find happy kids. Brian is unflappable – he's always putting out good energy for both children and adults," said Lafayette School District Superintendent, Dr. Fred Brill.
Although Mangold teaches special education, he has traditional students in his classroom every day. "One of the things I'm really proud of is the peer tutoring program in my class. They are 8th graders and my students absolutely love them. I see the peers grow as individuals from working with my students – they read to them and model behavior. In some cases, it's led to friendships," he said.
Mangold is active in his spare time as well. He's an avid outdoorsman and can frequently be found camping, hiking, rock climbing, biking and playing softball. In addition to all that, he's getting married in a few weeks, yet another learning experience to embrace!