Success High School Career and Technical Education Teacher Catherine Chang was first inspired to build a career in education after working as a substitute teacher with former Success High School Director Betty Zinn. It was through Zinn that Chang learned to be a role model and teach not only material, but be respectful to students.

Chang, who teaches business, computer science, family and consumer science and career preparation, has been selected as the 2017 Teacher of the Year at Success High School. Chang has been an educator for 20 years, all of which have been at Success.

With the variety of subjects that rotate through her classroom, Chang strives to be flexible while maintaining high standards and adapting curriculum to serve all students. Teaching shouldn’t be “just a job,” Chang said.

“It’s a commitment to yourself and your students to teach to the best of your knowledge and ability,” Chang said. “It should be meaningful and relevant to students. It should be interesting, stimulating and challenging.”

An essential part of the education process at Success is enabling students to solve problems and discover their learning styles. Students in Chang’s class have the opportunity to share issues in a safe environment and take risks without fear, she said.

“I come from a different background and culture than many of my students and consequently promote diversity in my classroom,” Chang said. “In this environment, my students know that I will listen to them and that they can approach me with their problems. I will do the best I can to help them achieve their goals.”

Chang recently started the Success High School RISE program, which rewards students who excel at the ABC’s of Success — Attendance, Behavior and Course Completion. RISE Award winners are recognized each six weeks and are invited to a special luncheon.

“Catherine is always willing to help students and staff and has committed herself for more than 20 years to graduating and mentoring students,” Success Principal Thomasine Stewart said. “She is a valuable resource to all stakeholders and goes above and beyond for our students.”