Ms. Aimee Riechel is our November Teacher of the Month!
We are excited to be honored that Ms. Aimee Riechel, a 9th-grade teacher at Mission High School, has been selected as our November 2023 Teacher of the Month! She has been teaching for over twenty years and is being recognized for her outstanding passion, work ethic, and commitment to her students, school, and community. It is an honor to celebrate her dedication and contributions to education.
Aimee’s infectious energy and zest for life create an uplifting atmosphere for her students. Aimee fosters meaningful, lasting connections with her students that extend beyond high school.
A student expressed their appreciation for Ms. Riechel, saying, “Ms. Riechel is the best thing that could have happened to me in Mission. She is one of two teachers who I feel truly understands me and my emotions. As a student, I feel that she makes coming to school seem more important than it actually is, and for that, I am truly grateful.”
Ms. Riechel has had a dynamic career as an educator within the San Francisco Unified School District. She has spent years teaching social studies, held the position of co-chair of the Social Studies Department at Mission High, and played a key role in the development of the Ethnic Studies curriculum in the district. Additionally, she has mentored new history teachers and is currently working on rebuilding the peer resource program at Mission High School. Her dedication and expertise make her one of the most respected teachers at Mission, and she is deeply appreciated by both her students and colleagues.
In 2010, following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti, Ms. Riechel played a role in establishing a partnership between Haiti and Mission High School. She worked tirelessly to raise funds and take students to Haiti to visit schools. Furthermore, she and her students also raised funds to enable teachers from Haiti to visit Mission High School.
Ms. Riechel is a vanguard in the field of Ethnic Studies in the San Francisco Unified School District. She has played a pivotal role in developing the Ethnic Studies curriculum and is highly regarded as a leader among secondary educators. For a few years, she stepped away from her role at Mission High School to become a teacher on special assignment, providing curricular support to social studies within the district. During this time, she authored curriculum and taught Ethnic Studies long before it was a district mandate. Ms. Riechel has also contributed to the work of San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley in supporting Ethnic Studies. Her work has been groundbreaking and she continues to make strides in this field.
Today, she teaches a 9th-grade Ethnic Studies class in collaboration with a professor from Stanford University. One of their objectives is to ensure the full integration of students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) into the course. They are also researching to identify ways in which these students can succeed in the Ethnic Studies program. This teacher is doing groundbreaking work that is sure to make a significant and positive impact on her community.
Another colleague says, “As a peer resources teacher, the idea is that you only teach peer resources, but Ms. Riechel insisted that she teach at least one class of Ethnic Studies. She understands that the heart of teaching is a content class and all other parts of education are veins that keep it beating.”
Ms. Riechel is an educator who encourages her students to write and publish their ideas on social justice issues. Additionally, she makes her lessons relevant and meaningful to her students by having them conduct community interviews to gain a better understanding of the experiences and needs of people in their community. She is also mindful of ensuring that her lessons are inclusive and representative of her students’ identities.
Another colleague says, “Aimee is always planning with people, listening to ideas that other teachers have and incorporating them into her ideas, and most importantly listening to student ideas. Her lessons are thoughtful, relevant, and joyful.”
Ms. Riechel is responsible for organizing events that aim to bring the school community together, creating a sense of morale and trust among the staff. She also leads peer mediation sessions for students, utilizing a restorative justice framework. Furthermore, she actively participates in school-wide events, such as assemblies, to demonstrate solidarity with various student groups. Overall, Ms. Riechel plays a crucial role in promoting a positive and inclusive school culture.
As an exceptional educator, Ms. Riechel’s kind and unwavering dedication to her classroom and community at Mission High School is deserving of immense admiration. Thank you for all that you do to support your students, Ms. Riechel. We truly appreciate your passion for education. Congratulations on being selected as our Teacher of the Month for December 2023!