Category Archives: Education

MBMS Science Teacher is California Teacher of the Year

Why We Love the South Bay!

Photo by Brad Graverson

Photo by Brad Graverson

by Ellen Robinson, The Beach Reporter

Seventh-grader Isabella Peterson credits Maggie Mabery with igniting her passion for science.


“At first I thought science was boring, but she changed my mind about it,” she said about the Manhattan Beach Middle School science teacher. “Now I love science. She is really amazing. She makes it fun to learn. She deserves being honored as California Teacher of the Year,” she said.

Mabery is eighth-grader Ben Wilberding’s favorite teacher.

“She has changed my life,” he said. “Before I was just a normal student, but now I push myself to learn more about science. Now science is my favorite subject. She is funny and says random stuff. She makes science cool and makes us laugh. Science is hard, but I try to do the best I can.”

Peterson, Wilberding and the entire MBMS student body joined Mabery as she celebrated being named one of five California Teachers of the Year at a special assembly Wednesday. Mabery has been singled out as the California teacher to compete in the National Teacher of the Year program.

Mabery makes science and learning so fun for her students that they often don’t realize they are learning, Jackson said. “She’s a great teacher because she understands the kids and understands the subject matter. She doesn’t talk over their heads; nor does she talk under their heads. She is spot on.”

Mabery helps future scientists appreciate the impact science has on their daily lives. Her students’ favorite aspect of science, she said, is being able to light things on fire. And she works hard to kindle a spark in them.

“Middle school students are awesome,” she said. “At this age, they are wanting to find someone to look up to and they are looking for higher levels of learning. It’s just such a fun age to get into their brains and to inspire them to learn and to love science. Science is amazing because it changes our world. I love the kids, that is why I am excited to come to work here every day,” she said.

Mabery will represent California in the National Teacher of the Year competition, a process that involves a written biography, essays on a variety of topics and letters of recommendation. President Obama will introduce the winner in April at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

As one of five California Teachers of the Year, Mabery will participate in public education forums and may conduct demonstration lessons and contribute to teacher recruitment efforts. On Dec. 8, she and the other four teachers meet with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and participate in a full day of professional development in Sacramento. Additionally, on Feb. 9, the teachers will be honored at a banquet in Sacramento.

Wednesday’s California Teacher of the Year honor follows earlier accolades for Mabery. After joining the staff at MBMS as a science teacher in 2001, she was Manhattan Beach Unified School District Teacher of the Year and one of 16 Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year. She earned her bachelor of science in elementary education with a minor in science from Iowa State University and her master of arts in education administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

The Manhattan Beach Unified School District Board of Trustees will honor Mabery at their meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m.

Article courtesy of The Beach Reporter.

Why We Love Our Town

MBEF Increase its Grants to Save Teacher Jobs

As recently reported by the Manhattan Beach Education Fund

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA –  Last night, MBEF President Nina Patel announced that the foundation had approved $5.385 million in grants to the Board of Trustees of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District at the district’s monthly board meeting.


The grant includes an additional $385,000 of funds from last year’s grants.   MBEF has requested those funds be specifically earmarked to save teacher jobs – especially to keep small elementary class classes small, to retain reading specialist jobs, and to maintain small humanities and English classes in the sixth to ninth grades.

In March, MBUSD issued layoff notices to 26.4 full-time equivalents (known as FTEs).  Since that time, MBUSD has looked for ways to find savings in other line items, like books and supplies.  With the additional MBEF grant money combined with such savings, MBUSD will be able to rescind those layoff notices and retain most of those teaching positions.

The school board voted unanimously to accept the increased grant money and voted to make plans to inform teachers that pink slips will be rescinded.

Earlier this year, MBEF raised another record-breaking year of donations with its Annual Appeal posting more than $4.7 million.

About Manhattan Beach Education Foundation

Manhattan Beach Education Foundation is an independent 501 (c) 3 non-profit established by parents and community leaders to support quality public education in Manhattan Beach.   Since 1983, MBEF has granted much needed funds to supplement state funding and has helped MBUSD continually rank in the Top 1% of school districts in California.  With more than 3,000 donors and annual grants exceeding $5 million, MBEF is one of the oldest and most successful foundations in the state.  For more information, visit