Culver City Edition

Venice High faculty member wins state teaching award

VENICE — Kirsten Farrell, a health science and medical technology teacher at Venice High School, has been named by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson as one of five 2018 California Teachers of the Year. She is the only Los Angeles Unified School District teacher this year to receive the honor.

“I want to thank the California Department of Education for this very special recognition,” Farrell said. “I have always been — and continue to be — inspired by my students and by my many dedicated colleagues every single day.”

Farrell created one of the first LAUSD sports medicine teams which she founded at Venice High in 2004 in partnership with the West Coast Sports Foundation. In addition to teaching students about anatomy, medical terminology and the ability to treat athletic injuries, the program helps them recognize signs of concussions and trains them in CPR, use of defibrillator and other life-saving techniques.

“We are incredibly proud of Ms. Farrell for this important distinction,” said LAUSD acting Superintendent Vivian Ekchian. “In addition to exhibiting educational excellence, she is someone who embodies an entrepreneurial spirit. Breaking new ground in important fields, she is an amazing role model for students everywhere.”

A 21-year teaching veteran, Farrell has served at Venice High for 15 years as a regional occupational program and career technical education teacher. She has taught a variety of courses, including sports medicine, medical terminology and sports therapeutics. She is also a certified athletic trainer.

Before coming to Venice, she taught at St. Monica Catholic High School in Santa Monica, Leysin American School in Switzerland and Nishimachi International School in Japan.

“I appreciate that Venice is a true community school,” Farrell said. “Having grown up in a mobile, military family, I am thrilled when I meet grandparents of current students who proclaim ‘Proud to be a Gondo!’”

Venice Principal Oryla Wiedoeft said that Farrell is an inspirational teacher who has a positive impact on every student who enters her classroom.

“She is an absolute superstar,” she said. “Through her vision, creativity, dedication and leadership skills, she has led the development and execution of a unique small learning community that has achieved tremendous success and helped markedly increase enthusiasm among students and enrollment at our school.”

Farrell’s’ recognition also garnered accolades from Los Angeles school board.

“We celebrate the amazing talent in Los Angeles and are proud to have Ms. Farrell honored as a California Teacher of the Year,” said school board President Mónica García. “Ms. Farrell models the qualities of inspiring educators, like excellence, commitment, healer, scholar and bridge builder. And, we salute her work to get more students to the graduation finish line, ready for college, career and beyond.”

“I am proud and grateful to have teachers like Kirsten Farrell at the helm of Venice High School’s Sports Medicine Team, molding the minds and healing the injuries of athletes,” said board Vice President Nick Melvoin, whose district includes Venice High. “Farrell’s well-deserved statewide recognition showcases the positive effect of an enthusiastic, hard-working and passionate educator.”

“Teachers like Kristen Farrell are the catalyst to students’ cultivation of a love of learning,” said school board member George J. McKenna III. “We are extremely proud of Ms. Farrell and celebrate her as a giant among her colleagues.”

Presented by California Casualty and the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage new teachers to enter the profession.