About MeThank you for taking time to read about me. I am multi-racial and can speak, read, and write Japanese. I immigrated to California so that I could attend college. My maternal grandmother is from Hawaii and has a rather fascinating backstory of how she ended up in Okinawa, in an arranged marriage, not speaking the local dialect or even Japanese!
I returned to MacArthur in 2009 and am beginning my 36th year of teaching. I spent two years teaching 4th grade in Brea-Olinda USD before coming to SAUSD. I had left MacArthur back in the 90s to run multi-million dollar National Science Foundation math professional development projects. Since then, I coordinated the CSULB math project, taught math methods classes for student teachers at Vanguard University, and made a change to teach Kindergarten at Thorpe. I am happy to be back teaching math at MacArthur, serving as the secretary for our MacFIS PFO Parent Booster Club, advising MacArthur's middle school chapter of the California Junior Scholarship Federation (CJSF), and one of the advisers to the student-run Gay-Straight-Alliance (GSA). I am excited to have current students who are the children of my past students!
During the 2020-21 school year I am teaching four levels of mathematics at MacArthur: 6th grade Math Honors+, 7th grade Honors, 7th grade Honors+ (Algebra I), and 8th grade Honors+ (Geometry).
With our current county-wide 'shelter-in-place' due to the SARS-CoV2, we have a new school schedule. My students are encouraged to utilize my math websites in addition to my YouTube channel called Skipper Kids.
I am married to Bill Spurgeon, a retired teacher from MacArthur's history department. His last name may be familiar because his great-grandfather founded the city of Santa Ana! Hence, 'Spurgeon' can be found all over Santa Ana. My husband is an athletic guy; he stand-up paddles in the mornings and gardens or is online in the afternoons. Mr. Spurgeon was featured in a magazine article about surfing called 'Old Guys Rule.' Nowadays, he returns to MacArthur to chaperone CJSF events. In 8th grade, the top history student will receive the 'William Spurgeon Award for History,' named in his honor.
Photography is one of my many hobbies. During non-pandemic times, I am known for taking pictures of my students and covering one entire wall with their happy faces.
I raise butterflies and will often given an impromptu lesson about them during class. I formerly conducted seminars on butterfly science to teachers through UCI's Beckman Science program. I have designed a number of butterfly websites and the Smithsonian has used several of my butterfly photographs in a book. In fact, the Crowes Nest Media production company has used my Monarch pictures and websites in one of their educational videos! My lepidoptera pictures and content can be found all over the internet,
I have three dogs: Chelsea (14+ years old), Boney (14+ years old), and Penelope Pitstop (1-year old). Chelsea and Penelope are Shih Tzus. Chelsea is well-known by my students (former and current) because her pictures are found all over my classroom (she is a great doggy model). She is a retired Therapy Dog who also competed in agility (sort of like doggy Olympics). Boney is my sweet 'inherited' Soft-wire haired Dachshund who came into my life nine years ago. Penelope has been working on her Trick Dog and Canine Good Citizen titles during quarantine time. The three are definitely a team; Penelope (aka Pit) and Boney love to practice obediece commands as they are motivated by food. Chelsea is the Queen Bee of the three and the other two look to her for guidance.
In the photo, the line up is: Penelope, Chelsea, and Boney sitting with me in my 'virtual' classroom, as of June 2020. I have since made some modifications to my teaching set-up. We all need to take Distance Learning (DL) one day at time, changing things to make it all 'work.' I have made a LOT of changes to find what works.
Hula is an important part of my life: I dance with Halau Hula O Laniola. Sadly, at this time, all of our hula is done via video so it isn't quite the same. I also crochet dog toys, woolen dryer balls, bags, …and I love to READ. One of my favorite pastimes is going to live theater (I love Broadway musicals!) but with the pandemic this is something that is not part of my life right now. I do admit that I have watched Hamilton on Disney+ MANY times this summer and the soundtrack or 'Hamilton Mixtapes' is my go-to music playlist.