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Jul 03, 2012

The Carlston Family Foundation and LAUSD Recognize Exemplary Teaching

The Carlston Family Foundation, Los Angeles Unified School District bestow prestigious teaching awards upon three LA’s Promise affiliated teachers

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (July 3, 2012) – Excellent teaching has propelled academic rigor, excitement and student achievement at John Muir Middle School, Manual Arts High School and West Adams Prep High School. Three LA’s Promise affiliated teachers have been recognized this year for their effectiveness, creativity and unique ability to educate and improve the education for students in South Los Angeles: John P. Santos, from Manual Arts High School, and Mr. Kuppersmith and Margarita Wang, both from John Muir Middle School. Please join LA’s Promise in congratulating these outstanding educators!

The Carlston Family Foundation named John Santos, a Manual Arts High School teacher and Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) advisor, Outstanding Teacher of America.  Recognized for having profound, life–changing academic influence on their students, this year, Santos was one of five winners selected from across the country. Santos teaches graphic arts classes and serves as the MESA sponsor teacher, mentors students and works with MESA staff and district officials. He recently led the Manual Arts robotics team to an 8th place finish in an international robotics competition.

“I applaud Mr. Santos for being a dedicated teacher and leader at Manual Arts,” says Tim Allen, Executive Director, Carlston Family Foundation. “His leadership has prepared students to excel, particularly in the STEM related fields.”

Mr. Kuppersmith and Margarita Wang, both English teachers at John Muir Middle School (John Muir) were also recognized for their outstanding teaching.  They were both awarded Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Teacher of the Year (TOY) along with 15 other recipients who are now eligible to compete for the 2012–2013 Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year competition. Kuppersmith and Wang were selected for this honor based on their superb leadership and teaching skills, innovation and commitment to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities.

Kuppersmith has been teaching for 13 years, and began at John Muir in September 2011. During the past year, he has helped build a community of teachers to also inspire and engage students. “Every day I wear a hat with a Superman S–Shield on it.  Every day, I know that my students are "Waiting for Superman,” Kuppersmith states. “So, every day, I wear this symbol with the idea that my students shouldn't be waiting.  They should have Superman, and it should be me,” he adds.

Wang, has taught sixth grade English and Language Arts at John Muir for six years. Like Kuppersmith, she exemplifies a model teacher with her interactive lessons plans and excellent classroom management skills. Her tireless effort to spark the interest of learning has been life changing for many of her students.  Dr. Nisha Dugal, Principal of John Muir says, “I admire Ms. Wang’s willingness to grow as a professional educator and her involvement with school site affairs.”  She adds, “Her commitment to the school community is remarkable.“  

Kuppersmith and Wang join Karen Orpe, a 7th grade history teacher also at John Muir Middle School, and Rachel Haserjian, a calculus teacher at West Adams Preparatory High School, also an LA’s Promise school, who were both honored as LAUSD’s Teachers of the Year 2011–2012.

“This honor is for teachers who have demonstrated a rare enthusiasm for teaching and a true passion for transforming the classroom into an exciting and motivating environment to learn. We thank Mr. Santos, Mr. Kuppersmith and Ms. Wang, for their dedication and commitment to students and families of South Los Angeles,” says Veronica Melvin, President & CEO of LA’s Promise.


About LA's Promise

LA's Promise is a nonprofit organization radically improving the education, health and social outcomes for thousands of youth in one South Los Angeles community. LA's Promise transforms chronically failing public schools and opens new schools into community hubs that offer comprehensive support services for students and families. LA's Promise works with our partner schools and agencies to prepare every child in LA's Promise schools to be college and career–ready, healthy and successful in life. For more information, please go to