Mr. Grainger is our January 2014 Teacher of the Month

TOM_Jan2014826 Valencia is honored to name the first Teacher of the Month for 2014, Mr. Jess Grainger of Washington High School! Mr. Grainger has become an integral part of Washington High School’s College and Career Center by helping nearly 500 seniors with their college applications and scholarship essays, most of whom are non-native English speakers, low-income, and the first in their family to attend college. In October and November, he organized and implemented personal statement workshops in all nineteen senior English classes. He also actively sought additional support from community organizations such as 826 Valencia to ensure that students received adequate support throughout this important process.

Mr. Grainger has demonstrated a strong commitment to each student as an individual, assisting high achievers and struggling students alike, often outside of school hours. By working with students one-on-one, he has helped them build the confidence to pursue ambitious postsecondary plans. Colleagues estimate that he personally assisted over one hundred seniors with multiple drafts of college essays last fall. He has also acted as a mentor to at-risk students, offering guidance as they navigate the pressures of school work and personal challenges.

Colleagues and students submitted effusive recommendations describing Mr. Grainger as a relentless student advocate. One of his colleagues, Math Teacher Ed Marquez, describes Mr. Grainger as a “Nehemiah figure,” motivating youth to strive for greatness. Another colleague, Patrick Pablo, notes that Mr. Grainger “brings an impressive balance of savvy and passion to his role.” Jessica Mitchell writes, “These kids share their stories and lives with him; they trust him with their vulnerability and he helps them find their voice.” Jordan Wilson, an appreciative student, reports: “He really enjoys helping students through some of the most stressful points in our young lives.”

826 Valencia is pleased to recognize Mr. Grainger for his extraordinary contributions to the school community, which is accompanied by a $1500 honorarium for him to spend as he wishes. Congratulations, Mr. Jess Grainger!

Read about our Teacher of the Month program.