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.