|Christi Worthington receives her Teacher of the Year award from Pilar Brodie of Massage Envy and Menifee 24/7 Editor Doug Spoon. |
Complying early with a state law that has created a modified curriculum for children who have not yet turned 5, Chester Morrison became one of two schools in the Menifee Union School District to implement a TK program last fall. This meant that two teachers at the school would now be introducing kindergarten concepts to 4-year-olds.
Worthington quickly volunteered for the job.
"I like the developmental stage of children," she said. "I enjoy it because the children really grow a lot in that one year. They really expand their knowledge base, their vocabulary and social skills."
Worthington has played such a pivotal role in the early development of her students, she receives high praise from parents. Their description of her efforts has resulted in Worthington's selection as the winner of the April Menifee 24/7 Teacher of the Month Award, sponsored by Massage Envy.
Stanley Erickson, father of another one of Worthington's 27 students, also has high praise for Worthington.
"Our daughter loves her and looks forward to going to school each and every day," Erickson wrote in an email. "She thrives on the structure and accountability that Ms. Worthington holds all of the students to. Ms. Worthington encourages the kids to resolve little disputes through talking to each other rather than tattling or resorting to pushing and shoving.
"I am a strong believer in the notion that kids like to know that there are boundaries to behavior and respect you when you hold them to them. This is how I perceive Ms. Worthington's philosophy as well. As a person, Ms. Worthington is about as strong as they come."
Worthington, who grew up in Oregon, is a breast cancer survivor. She and two other women have formed a cancer support group called The Survivor Sisters. She also is raising two daughters she adopted from China.
"Dealing with cancer was a learning experience," she said. "I missed almost a whole year of school. I had to tell the children, but all they knew is that I was sick. The parents knew. I got through it because of my faith in God."
Worthington received a certificate in honor of her award and a $50 gift card from Massage Envy, located in the Countryside Marketplace in Menifee.
Said Angela Drumm, parent of another one of Worthington's students:
"The kids love her and her patience is amazing! With class sizes over 30 now, she still has great control and perseverance and love for all those kids."