Cliff Gustafson Highland High School Gilbert Public Schools

Cliff Gustafson

Highland High School

Gilbert Public Schools

highlandhigh.gilbertschools.net

Cliff Gustafson

Highland High School

Gilbert Public Schools

highlandhigh.gilbertschools.net

 

Cliff Gustafson knows his numbers — and so do students in his Algebra 2 and geometry classes at Highland High School, where he will be teaching Algebra 2 and financial applications next year.

He’s been at Highland for three years and prior to that taught math for 10 years to at-risk students at Sun Valley High School.

A Gilbert resident since 1998 and father of six, he had been a computer programmer for nine years but then, he said, “I felt compelled to become a teacher, with the hope that I could make more of a difference with the time I was spending at work.”

At Sun Valley High, he taught students who largely were 18 to 21, former dropouts who decided to return to get their diploma — sometimes the first in their families to do so.

While there are many things he likes about teaching, two stand out: “First, discovering I reached a student I never thought I could reach,” he said. “Second, the interactions I have with my students on a daily basis. I am a strong believer in being consistently positive with students, talking to them, listening to them and trying to have a little fun along the way.  

“The philosophy that has been most impressed upon me over my teaching career is no significant learning occurs without a significant relationship. The relationship I try to establish with my students is one of respect, trust, encouragement and optimism, with a healthy dose of reality.”

Besides teaching math, he also is an assistant wrestling coach — harkening back to his own college days when he was a wrestler.

 

Second Place

Nick Cornell

Campo Verde High School

Higley Unified School District

campoverdehigh.gilbertschools.net

 

Third Place

Bill Bitter

Highland High School

highlandhigh.gilbertschools.net

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