Jose Rivas left the engineering world to pursue a career in education. He returned to his hometown of Lennox, California, where he teaches Digital Art, AP Physics, Electronics, and Engineering Design to grades 10–12 at Lennox Mathematics, Science, and Technology Academy.
His approach to phenomenon-based instruction has garnered him several awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and the Northrop Engineering Education Award. His students have built 16-foot solar-electric boats and competed with them in the annual Solar Cup; studied terminal velocity through indoor skydiving; explored the physics of martial arts and developed innovative solutions for the Exploravision competition that have been nationally recognized.
Jose graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in education. He is a TeachPlus policy fellow and an Emergent Bilingual Change Agent.
When he’s not in the classroom, you’ll find Jose in the dojo practicing Aikido, a Japanese martial art, in which he holds a fourth-degree black belt from the Los Angeles Aikikai. Jose also enjoys playing the ukulele and singing.
The Educator of the Year Awards are presented annually to exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success in college and in life. These awardees model best practices in teaching or administration inside and outside of the classroom, are peer role models, and demonstrate outstanding leadership and excellence in education. Any high school educator has the opportunity to apply.