Submitted by a source who wishes to remain anonymous:
For this outstanding teacher, this honor is only part of the journey. Blakeslee graduated from University City High School in 1989. She returned as an instructional assistant where she tutored students with learning difficulties. One student didn’t have the grades to graduate, nor the skills and confidence to pass the examination required for the U.S. Marine Corp. They worked together until his math grades improved and his self-confidence grew. One day, after his high school graduation, the newly inducted Marine returned to U.C. High in uniform to thank Detisch. She knew then what her professional goal would be.
Now nearly 18 years have passed since Blakeslee received her credential for teaching special education. She’s quick to admit that the road was challenging and sometimes discouraging. Blakeslee struggled in her early childhood with learning, because of dyslexia. One teacher, however, believed in, inspired, and became a role model for Blakeslee. From Jean Boothby, she learned perseverance, self-confidence, and to fight back.
Recognition as teacher of the year is another of Blakeslee’s accomplishments. She implemented after-school programs for the City of San Diego in low-income areas. She incorporated homework centers, athletic activities, and a community food program, frequently facing gang hostility. For her efforts, Blakeslee was rewarded community service awards from the Office of the President of the United States, the United States Attorney General’s Office, and the Medical Director of Mexico, Juan Ramon de la Fuente.
Detisch uses her own experiences to inspire her students, telling them: “Not only do I discuss the obstacles I faced, I share my achievements and empathize with their frustrations or discouragement. I hold high expectations— no watering down subject matter.”
Blakeslee’s road is only half finished. Giving voice and inspiring students who struggle and teachers that give so much of themselves is where her passion lies. Her recognition will gain respect and acknowledgement for those who have traditionally been overlooked for their struggles and achievements, when obstacles can be immense.
Good luck to UC’s Blakeslee Detisch as she stands with other outstanding educators at the Teacher of the Year ceremony, 25th anniversary, to be held at Balboa Theater on October 10.
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