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Teacher and Staff Spotlights

Teachers

Hello, Gant Gators! My name is Jennifer Barragan, and I am lucky enough to have been teaching at Gant for four years. During my 18 years with Long Beach Unified, I have also taught kinder, third, and fourth at Bret Harte Elementary.

Born and raised in Long Beach, I am a product of LBUSD. I attended Cubberley, Newcomb, and Millikan High School. My college years were spent at CSULB, where I graduated with a BA in Family and Consumer Sciences (specialization in Child Development) and earned my teaching credential.

My husband, Jared, and four kids, Emily, 24, Luke, 16, Connor, 10, and Brooklyn, 9, keep me laughing and very busy.

I love teaching because there is no greater reward than working with students who are curious and enthusiastic, and share my love of learning.  

  • Favorite book: Blood on the River. I love historical fiction!
  • Favorite hobbies: Hiking and gardening 
  • Favorite sports team: Angels
  • Favorite subject to teach: I seriously enjoy teaching all subjects. 
  • Favorite subject to learn: American history
  • Favorite dessert: Strawberry shortcake 

- March 2021

Hello Gant Family!

My name is Teresa Boyd, and I have been at Minnie Gant for 22 years, one year in 3rd grade and the rest in 4th grade so I know a lot about 4th grade and 4th graders. I also seem to get most of the boys, which is fine because my sense of humor is pretty much on that level. Previously, I taught at Newcomb in middle school for six years: 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. I have a BS in business and an MBA in finance. I tried working in finance, but I just love to teach. 

I have three kids: Rachel, 31, Alex, 28, and Marissa, 22 (my favorite child is my rescue dog, Sandee -- full of energy like me!). All my kids went to Minnie Gant, along with my niece and nephew. I have known Mrs. Fanton since she was in college, so when Halloween came, we had lots of fun (pictured above)! My favorite thing to do is laugh, and I have been doing a lot of that this year. I love music. Concerts are my favorite activity ever, and I usually combine them with travel. No one wants to hear me sing, but I continue to do that and dance! 

I enjoy working, and I love the kids. I learn so much from them, and they always make me laugh.

  • Favorite Book: FBI murder mysteries series (I read every night)
  • Favorite Movie: Dragon Tattoo Trilogy 
  • Favorite Hobby: Working out with my trainer
  • Favorite Sport Team: Whatever my students like!
  • Favorite Subject: I love math!
  • Favorite Subject to Learn: Useless trivia ha!
  • Favorite Dessert: Ice cream!! I can't keep it in my house, or I will eat all of it!

- May 2021

My name is Trinette Coster, and I grew up in Anaheim. I graduated from CSULB and began working as a teacher’s aide for LBUSD in 1984. I eventually became a teacher in 1991 but took off several years to care for my children. In 2000, I was asked to take over a class at Minnie Gant and ended up staying till 2010. All in all, I’ve taught kindergarten through sixth grade and at several different schools throughout the district. 

I currently live in Seal Beach with my husband, Cosby cat, and my dogs Cupcake, Bon-Bon, and Layla. I enjoy walking, dancing, bike riding, gardening, antique hunting, watching classic movies and spending time with friends and family.

I feel fortunate to be back at my favorite school, Minnie Gant!

- November 2020

My name is Katy Fisher, and this is my 6th year teaching at Gant. I was the reading specialist for the past 5 years, and this is my first year teaching 3rd grade. I previously taught 1st and 5th grade and middle school Spanish and English at Tincher. I was also a reading specialist at Stevenson Elementary. I have been teaching for 22 years in total.

I grew up in several places because my dad was in the Navy and we moved around frequently. I've lived in different places in California and Maryland, and spent a couple years in Madrid, Spain. I graduated from UC Irvine in 1998 and earned my BA in Psychology and Social Behavior and a minor in Spanish. I also earned my teaching credential and master's degree in Multicultural Education from CSUDH.

I live with my 2 amazing kids - my daughter, Karleigh, is 13, and my son, Gabriel, is 10.

I love teaching 3rd grade because my students are so hard-working, sweet and fun! I love to see them learn new ideas and apply them to real life concepts.

  • Favorite book: The Harry Potter series
  • Favorite movie: Oh, there are so many! I loved Star Wars when I was a kid. Now, I love most all Disney movies.
  • Favorite hobby: Hiking, biking, traveling, reading, and just being with my family and friends
  • Favorite sports team: The Lakers!
  • Favorite subject to teach: Reading
  • Favorite subject to learn: History
  • Favorite dessert: Mmmm ... anything chocolate! And cheesecake :)

- January 2021

My name is Lorine Hankinson, and this is my fifth year teaching first grade at Gant. I have been teaching in LBUSD for 36 years, and have taught at Garfield, Buffum, Webster, and now, Gant. 

I grew up in Long Beach, California, and graduated from St. Anthony’s High School and CSULB. I have two daughters (both are teachers!), and we love to travel together. 

I love teaching first grade at Gant because students are open and eager to learn. 

  • Favorite book: The Secret Life of Bees 
  • Favorite movie: Moonstruck and My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • Favorite hobby: gardening and hiking 
  • Favorite sports team: Dodgers
  • Favorite subject to teach: Reading and Art
  • Favorite subject to learn: History and Art 
  • Favorite dessert: homemade chocolate cake

- March 2022

Hi Gant Families! My name is Michele Johnson. I have been happy to call Gant my home for the last five years. I've been teaching in the district for 25 years now. 

I was born and raised in Long Beach. I was a product of the Long Beach Unified School District. I went to Tincher and Hill Jr. High, and graduated from Millikan in 1989 (Go Rams!). After I graduated high school, I attended LBCC and played softball there. I went on to play D1 Softball on an athletic scholarship. I played for Cal State Fullerton, where I graduated with my BA in Child Development. I continued my education at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where I earned my MA in Administration and Leadership, and received my administrative credential.

After college I married my husband, Brian. We just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We have two amazing daughters! Taylor (18) is a senior at Los Alamitos High School. We are very proud of her. She received a softball scholarship and will be playing D1 at the University of San Diego! Go Toreros! My younger daughter, Camryn (16), is also on the varsity softball team at Los Alamitos High School. She is a sophomore and is loving her newfound independence with having her driver's license. Our family adopted a dog -- a boxer (Kona) -- during COVID. We brought him home when he was only 7 weeks old. He is pretty spoiled and has his own Instagram. He has a ton of energy, and he makes our house exciting. It is difficult to keep him out of the pool, even during the winter.

I feel so lucky to be teaching third grade at Gant and plan on remaining here until retirement! 

Favorite Book: Charlotte's Web
Favorite Movie: Grease or The Notebook
Favorite Hobby: Watching softball or boating
Favorite Sports Team: Angels 
Favorite Subject to Teach: I enjoy teaching all subjects
Favorite Subject to Learn: History
Favorite Dessert: Soft brownies

- April 2022

Hi! My name is Maria Heck, and I teach 5th grade. I’ve been teaching 30 years, and the last 20 years have been here at Gant in 4th and 5th grade.

I’m a product of Long Beach and have lived here all my life. I’ve been married for 31 years, and our four children all attended Gant. I have five grandchildren and am so lucky to have Keira in 1st grade and Oakley in kindergarten here at Gant, too. Minnie Gant has been a part of my life for 30 years!

You might see me riding my bike through the neighborhood or walking my dog, Carl. I’m so eternally grateful for our school and our families! We are truly a village. I can’t wait to see you all back at school, hopefully soon! Stay healthy and safe. 

Love, 
Mrs. Heck
(aka “Mimi “)

- February 2021

Hello, Gator Families! My name is Alana Karlowitsch, aka Mrs."K". I've been fortunate to have taught 4th grade at Gant for 22 wonderful years. I've taught for 29 years, starting my career teaching 6th grade in Pasadena Unified. I then transferred to Long Beach Unified where I taught 5th grade at Barton Elementary.

I was born and raised in Montebello. After high school I wanted to become a veterinarian, so my first year of college was at Cal Poly Pomona. After performing a minor surgery my first year, I knew it was not for me. I then transferred to CSULB and found my calling to become a teacher. I graduated with a bachelor's in Liberal Studies and a minor in Psychology. It only took me 25 years longer to get my master's degree in Instruction and Curriculum from Concordia University. It is never too late to reach your goals!

I live in Long Beach with my husband, Joe, two daughters, Alex, 25, and Jamie, 17, and two cats named Lucky and Fudge. Both girls went to Gant, and I was fortunate to have had Jamie in my 4th grade class. Alex is a graduate of Millikan, as Jamie will be in 2022. GO RAMS!

I love teaching 4th grade at Gant because it is a special year of growth and transitions from primary years to the upper grade years and it happens to be the only year students get to learn about their state with California History! I enjoy helping and supporting my students with these adjustments so that they can meet with success in their future. I love watching them grow into confident, independent Minion scholars. 

  • Favorite book: Riding Freedom, biographies
  • Favorite movie: The Sound of Music
  • Favorite hobby: Reading, time with family
  • Favorite sports team: Angels
  • Favorite subject to teach: Reading and History
  • Favorite subject to learn: History, Cultures and People
  • Favorite dessert: Chocolate mousse

- April 2021

Hi, Gant family. My name is Ann Jay, and I'm a first grade teacher at Gant. I have been teaching for Long Beach Unified School District for a total of 45 years. Most of those years have been at Gant. I grew up in Long Beach as a child and went to Longfellow Elementary School and Hughes Middle School. I attended and earned my degree at CSULB. 

I am married and have two grown sons. Michael, my oldest son, is an attorney and lives in Los Angeles. My younger son, Greg, is an engineer and lives in San Diego with his wife and my two beautiful granddaughters, Violet and Scarlett. At home I have a dog named Ziggy and a cockatiel named Daisybart. My favorite thing to do is to spend time with my children and grandchildren.

I love teaching, and the children I teach are very special to me. Gant is a happy place for me, and I look forward every day to be able to be with my class.

- March 2022

Hello Gregarious Gant Gators!

My name is Lexi Lahera, and I am over the moon teaching here at Gant for my first year!

I grew up in a small town called Hollister in California and moved to Long Beach to attend CSULB on a golf scholarship. While a student at CSULB I earned my degree in Human Development and a master's in teaching with a specialization in reading. I loved it so much that I stayed! I’ve been teaching for 17 years and have been all over the district teaching kindergarten and 1st grade. I have worked at Tucker Elementary, Burbank Elementary, Dooley Elementary, Burcham Elementary, and Grant Elementary. I also worked at Pegasus in Huntington Beach teaching TK. LBUSD is a great place to be, and I have loved all my sites! However, Gant is extra special to me because I get to see my own children on campus every day. I have a daughter, Isa, who is in the 5th grade, and my son, Laz (Zito), who is in the 3rd grade. Aside from them I have an AMAZING group of phenomenal first graders that I enjoy working with every day! When I am not at Gant, I am spending time with my kids, husband, Chris, and our oversized wild puppy, Sancho!

  • Favorite Book: Practical Magic
  • Favorite Movies: Hope Floats, Say Anything
  • Favorite Hobbies: yoga, reading, walking my dog
  • Favorite Sports Team: United Soccer Teams (my son’s and two nephews' teams)!
  • Love to Teach: Reading, SEL
  • Love to Learn: Health
  • Favorite Dessert: 3 skittles + 1 starburst = the perfect combination!

- October 2021

Hi! My name is Cameron Little, but to most I’m known as Cami or Miss Little. I have been an employee of LBUSD for as long as I can remember! I was a college aide and a substitute teacher, and began my career in 1993, teaching 2nd grade at Bret Harte Elementary before becoming a Gant Gator in 1997. If my math is correct, I have been teaching for 28 years -- 24 of those years in kindergarten!

Both born and raised in Long Beach, I am a product of Long Beach schools. I attended Bayshore Co-op, Naples Elementary, Rogers Middle School and Wilson High School. I completed two years at LBCC and transferred to the University of California, San Diego, earning a BA in Communication. I worked for a few years writing press and doing marketing for a local stationary company before returning to school, where I received my teaching credentials at CSULB and later my master’s degree in Reading and Literacy from Walden University.

I live in Belmont Heights with my pandemic kitty, Louie, and am super close to my family, who all live nearby.

I love teaching the little ones! I enjoy their humor, kindness, curiosity and unconditional love. They are so eager to learn, and there is honestly nothing better than seeing them succeed!

  • Favorite movie: Sound of Music
  • Favorite hobbies: Hikes/long walks/training, photography with my iPhone, travel
  • Favorite sports team: LA Kings
  • Favorite subject(s) to teach: Writing and Art
  • Favorite dessert: Mint chip ice cream
  • Favorite quote: “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.” --Flavia Weedn

Hello, Gant Families,  

My name is Jacklyn Love, and I have had the privilege of teaching Transitional Kindergarten for 8 years. I also taught K, 1, and 2. This is my 30th year teaching in Long Beach. I was born in Long Beach and went to Starr King, Hamilton and Hoover Middle Schools, and Brethren High School. I graduated from C.S.U.L.B., and I have my Master's in reading. I love teaching at Gant because the staff and students are friendly. I enjoy my 5 grandsons and I've been to all 50 states and 7 continents.

  • Favorite book: Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult
  • Favorite movie: The Sound of Music
  • Favorite hobby: Traveling and planning my next trip
  • Favorite sports team: My grandsons' soccer and football teams
  • Favorite subject to teach: Writing
  • Favorite dessert: Pie

- September 2021

Hello! My name is Terri Mace, and this is my 16th year teaching at Minnie Gant. I came to Gant from Tincher where I taught for 10 years. My specialty is teaching individuals with special needs and abilities. I have taught students from pre-K all the way through fifth grade. I love my job! It is such a pleasure to watch my students achieve their goals. It takes teamwork with our class. I'm lucky here at Gant, I have great support staff! We are always a team working for the betterment of our students.

I grew up here in Long Beach. I attended Prisk, Keller and Patrick Henry elementary schools. I went to middle school at Marshall and graduated from Millikan in 1987. I was lucky to become a college aide in November 1987. I worked in kindergarten and second grades at Newcomb K-8. In addition, I was the assistant track coach there for three years. In the summer of 1992, I was assigned to a special needs classroom and fell in love teaching this unique population. I like to say I entered the Long Beach Unified family at age five and just never left!

I live with my daughter and three very spoiled dogs. I'm lucky to have my dad living just around the corner so we still can have family dinner and discuss our day. I enjoy gardening, swimming, and decorating. My daughter is graduating from Millikan this year and I'm such a proud Mom! She has been accepted into CSULB and will be studying Kinesiology. I plan to spy on her from my classroom. 

Currently, I'm reading A Promised Land by former president Barack Obama and The Dancing Girls by M.M. Chouinard. I love suspense/mystery and true biographies. When I was in elementary school, my favorite authors were Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. I recently went back and read some of my favorite books by both and laughed just as hard now as I did then.

I want to thank you for reading my story! Stop by and say "HI" to me and my kiddos in B-31! GO GANT GATORS!!!!

- May 2021

My name is Lindsay Moss, and this is my first year at Gant. I have been teaching for two years and subbed in Long Beach for five years. I previously taught 7th- and 8th-grade history at Avalon on Catalina Island. (I took the boat EVERY DAY.)

I was born and raised in Long Beach. I graduated from LB State in 2012, and earned my history degree and graduated in 2015 with a K-8 teaching credential from Cal State Dominguez Hills. 

I live with my black lab, named Gus (Augustus, Gus Gus, Gustopher, Gurse, he has a lot of names...). We love to camp, and it's my goal to visit every national park! I also love anything Disney (I used to work there!), I collect vintage Disney memorabilia, and I've visited the parks in California, Florida, and Paris, France. One day, I'll see them all!

I love teaching 2nd because my class is curious and wonderful, and they always make me smile.

  • Favorite book: The Harry Potter series (and Skippyjon Jones)
  • Favorite movie: Elf! (for this time of the year; for the rest of the year, anything Disney!)
  • Favorite hobby: Taking photographs, making crafts like clay earrings or crochet
  • Favorite sports team: LA Kings. GO! KINGS! GO!
  • Favorite subject to teach: History
  • Favorite subject to learn: Foreign languages (I've studied Spanish, sign language, German, and a tiny bit of French)
  • Favorite dessert: Creative Cakery chocolate chocolate chip and ice cream!

- December 2020

My name is Jennifer Ness, and I'm so happy to be back at Gant teaching kindergarten! I was a first-grade teacher at Gant from 1997 to 2006 and then was a substitute teacher for many years. 

I was born and raised in Lakewood, and I attended all LBUSD schools. I went to Cleveland Elementary, DeMille Middle School and Lakewood High School. I graduated from Chico State and earned my teaching credential from Long Beach State.

I live near Gant, and one of my favorite things to do is take my dog, Tucker, for a walk in the neighborhood. I have a husband named Dave and two kids who are both Gant Gator grads! My son, Matthew, is a freshman at Millikan and plays baseball. My daughter, Maggie, is in eighth grade at Stanford and plays volleyball.

I love teaching because my students make me smile and laugh every day.

  • Favorite Book: Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls
  • Favorite Hobby: Reading
  • Favorite Sports Team: Dodgers
  • Favorite Subjects: Reading and Science
  • Favorite Dessert: Brownies

- October 2021

My name is Lynda Peoples, and this is my 18th year at Gant. I have been teaching 5th grade for 12 years. I have also taught 3rd and 4th grade at Gant.

I have been teaching forever! This is my 33rd year teaching in LBUSD. I taught 6th grade for two years when 6th grade was still part of elementary school, and 14 years at the middle school level teaching math and science.

I was born and raised in Long Beach and am a product of LBUSD. I went to MInnie Gant and grew up in the neighborhood. I went to Hill Middle School and Wilson High School. I graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a bachelor’s in Liberal Studies and Literature, and earned my teaching credential and supplemental science credential there, too. My family jokes that before I retire, I need to teach at Wilson because I have taught at two of the schools I went to, Gant and Hill (now Sato).

I live near Gant with my husband, Chris, our two boys, Alan and Brett, and our cat, Sparky. Alan and Brett both went to Gant and were in my 5th grade class. Both boys are away at college. Alan is at UC Santa Barbara and Brett is at University of Redlands. They both play water polo for their colleges. I can’t wait to be able to watch them play again.

I enjoy teaching 5th grade because I enjoy helping my students get prepared for middle school. Gant is a special place for me because my students become like my own kids. I love watching them work hard to accomplish a goal and be excited when they finally reach it.

  • Favorite subjects to teach: math, science and social studies
  • Favorite book: anything mystery
  • Favorite hobby: watching my kids play water polo and traveling
  • Favorite sports team: UCLA Bruins (I don’t really like professional sports)
  • Favorite dessert: anything chocolate

- February 2021

My name is Persephone Quinney, and this is my first year at Gant. I am super happy to be here. 

I have been teaching forever. I previously taught for 22 years at Bret Harte. I have taught mostly 1st and 2nd but was also a Reading Specialist.

I grew up in Hermosa Beach, California. I graduated from Cal State Hayward in the '80s and earned my bachelor's in French. I got my teaching credential and master's degree from Cal State Hayward.

I live with my retired husband, Steve, and my beloved dachshund, Hotdog.

I love teaching 1st because the kids are cute and they make me laugh.

  • Favorite book genre: chick lit
  • Favorite movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Favorite hobby: at the moment, binge-watching TV 
  • Favorite sports teams: the LA KIngs and the UCLA Bruins football team
  • Favorite subject to teach: art
  • Favorite subject to learn: dance
  • Favorite dessert: sticky toffee pudding

- November 2020

Hi, my name is Mrs. Schmitz, and this is my first year teaching at Gant and sixth year teaching in general. This is my first year teaching 1st grade; I have previously taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. I graduated from UC Riverside in 2010 with a degree in liberal studies. I got my teaching credential from Cal State San Bernardino and my master's degree in reading from Cal State Fullerton.

I live in Huntington Beach with my husband and two daughters -- Rylie, who is 2 years old, and Cameron, who is 6 months old.

I am so excited and happy to be at Gant this year.

Favorite Subjects: Language Arts and Science
Favorite Book: of course, Harry Potter
Favorite Dessert: brownies, but I pretty much love all sweets

- October 2020

Hi everyone! My name is Kristen Stuckenberg! I have been teaching kindergarten at Gant for 6 years. I have taught in LBUSD for 25 years. I have taught K, 1st, 2nd, and even 8th-grade science! I grew up in Tustin, California, and graduated from Foothill High School, where I played volleyball and participated in the pep squad. I attended Scripps College in Claremont, California, and studied biology. After graduating in 1996, I got married and was employed quickly by LBUSD. I recently attained my Master of Science in education during the pandemic.

I have been married to Karl Stuckenberg for 25 years! He is a pastor in the United Methodist Church. We have two daughters. Kayla is a senior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and will continue next year in graduate school for occupational therapy. Kendal is a freshman business major at Chapman University in Orange. We have a 15-year-old dog named Biskit who is super cute, but deaf and going blind. We love her.

I love teaching at Gant because we are family, and we make learning fun! I love seeing my students every day and cannot wait to see what we will discover together.

  • Favorite book: East of Eden
  • Favorite movie: The Princess Bride
  • Favorite hobby: Gardening (especially with succulents)
  • Favorite sports team: Angels and Chargers
  • Favorite subject to teach: Math
  • Favorite subject to learn: Science
  • Favorite dessert: Anything chocolate

- January 2022

My name is Megumi Usui-Abiad. Megumi means “grace” or “blessings” in Japanese. I was born in Japan, but I grew up here in Torrance, California.  

I decided to become a teacher when I started volunteering in a homeless shelter back when I was a student at UC Riverside. Many children struggled in reading there, so I started working with them. I even taught a 70-year-old man how to read! 

It has been 25 years since I started teaching. I started with Japanese Immersion classes, moved on to GATE classes and then to general education. I love to challenge myself every year - to see if I could teach better the next year from the year before. It’s fun. 

I like to read. I read everything from John Douglas books (he’s a former FBI criminal profiler) to Pride and Prejudice (isn’t Mr. Darcy wonderful?). I’m really into anime. I watch a lot of anime with my 10-year-old son. The one I’m into right now is My Hero Academia. I love Demon Slayer, too.  

I also have a lot of hobbies. Hiking, rock/gem collecting, foraging, stamping, jewelry making, drawing, playing Pokemon Go, and writing are some of my favorites. The craziest things I’ve done are skydiving and bungee jumping, but it hikes up my life insurance so I had to quit. 

I met my husband in a Bible study during my second year in college. He’s a brilliant scientist and makes all kinds of medicines. He is also one of the kindest people I know and very wise. He also keeps me out of trouble when we go hiking ... well, that is, if I listen to him. The last time I ignored his warning, I ended up with a big stingray barb in my foot.

I am hoping to finish my career at Gant. I’m hoping that I will get to a point where my students come and visit me when they grow up once again. For a teacher, there is no greater satisfaction than knowing I had a hand in the education of a child who is doing well in life.

- November 2021

Staff

My name is Brenda Camrin, and I’m Gant’s new office supervisor. I grew up in Long Beach and went to Patrick Henry, Marshall Jr. High, and Millikan High School. I have worked for Long Beach Unified for 21 years. I've worked in payroll, at Hill Middle School (now Sato), Newcomb K-8, and Cubberley K-8. Prior to working for Long Beach Unified, I was a corporate secretary for an oil company for 10 years. 

I currently live in Long Beach with my husband, and I have been married for 37 years.  We have three children and two grandchildren, whom we adore. I enjoy walking, hiking, gardening, reading, and spending time with my family and friends. 

I feel so blessed to be at Minnie Gant. Everyone has been so welcoming and kind! I'm looking forward to eventually getting to meet all the students and their families!  

- January 2021

My name is Maria Leon-Arriaga, and I am the library media assistant at Gant. I have been at Gant for 7 years.

My Gant Gator kiddos think of me as their librarian and not a media assistant. I enjoy teaching the kids about library organization, parts of a book, genres, resources for research, and many other things. But I hope that the most important lesson I am teaching them is that reading is fun!

I grew up in South Los Angeles. I am a product of the LAUSD. I attended and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School. I then went to Cal State LA. Due to unforeseen circumstances I did not get to finish my college career. During the pandemic, my family convinced me that it was time to complete my college education, and I am proud to say that I am a 2022 college graduate from SNHU, with a bachelor’s degree in general studies with an emphasis in liberal arts.

I live with my husband of 27 years, Alex, and my 18-year-old son, Andrew, who attended Patrick Henry and Keller Middle school, is a graduate of St. Anthony High School, and currently attends LBCC.

We also have two dogs, named Snoopy and Jazzy.

The best part of being a school librarian is story time! I love when students come in and get excited and ask what story we will be reading that day! I enjoy sharing picture books as they inspire us to dream, they allow us to share cultural experiences, they allow us to develop our thinking skills, and they offer an escape and entertainment.

  • Favorite BookLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Favorite Movie: The Notebook
  • Favorite Hobby: Road trips with my family
  • Favorite Sports Team: Green Bay Packers
  • Favorite Dessert: Anything with chocolate

-April 2022

My name is Albert Marquez, and I'm the Plant Supervisor at Gant. I have been here for 14 years. I make sure Gant is safe and everything is in working order for students, staff and parents.

I grew up in Los Angeles and North Long Beach, and I graduated from Jordan High School in 1998. I live with my fiancée, Brittany, and daughter, Noelia.

I love being a Plant Supervisor because I enjoy giving a helping hand when needed with a smile. 

  • Favorite movie: Reign Over Me
  • Favorite hobby: Working out and fishing
  • Favorite sports team: Lakers, 49ers, Dodgers
  • Favorite dessert: Cookie dough ice cream

- March 2021

Greetings, Gant Gators!

My name is Anastacia (Ana) Speedone, and I am the school nurse at Gant Elementary. I am very fortunate to have been at Gant for 5 years now. I am a proud Gant alumnus, and I make sure that our students and staff are healthy and safe.  

I spent most of my childhood in Kapolei, Hawaii, before moving to Long Beach, California, in 1998. Since then, I have been a proud local of Long Beach.  

I started my nursing education at Long Beach City College and obtained my Associate of Science in Nursing in Spring 2013, and then continued at California State University, Long Beach, and obtained my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Fall 2015. Once I started my career as a school nurse, I obtained my school nurse services credential and Master of Science Degree in Nursing from California State University, Sacramento, in Fall 2019. 

I live in Long Beach with my chubby pomeranian-chihuahua mix named Nemo, and he loves to go on walks.  

I love being a school nurse at Gant because it makes me happy knowing that I am keeping our students healthy, so they are able to succeed in school. Remember, healthy children learn better, and school nurses make it happen.  

  • Favorite Book: Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy  
  • Favorite Movie: Nora Ephron rom coms 
  • Favorite Hobby: Spending quality time with friends and family 
  • Favorite Sports Team: LA Clippers 
  • Favorite Dessert: Homemade Filipino leche flan

- June 2021

My name is Kristen Speir, and I am the Attendance and Enrollment Clerk at Gant.

This is my second year at Gant. I make sure all your absence notes are entered into the computer, get new students started at our school, help make you feel better when the nurse isn’t at school, and lots of other things!

I was born and raised in Long Beach, where I attended Mark Twain and Madison Elementary School, Hoover Middle School, and Poly High School. GO JACKRABBITS!

I graduated from CSULB in 2011 with my teaching credential. After I graduated, I became a special education aide and loved it! I also enjoyed and excelled at data entry, so working in the school office gives me the best of both worlds.

My pride and joy is my 15-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, named Izzy. I could talk your ear off about her all day!

I love working at Gant because it is such a fun and down-to-earth school under the best leadership I’ve experienced in LBUSD!

·  Favorite Book: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Harry Potter!
·  Favorite Movie: the 1960 stage version of Peter Pan starring Mary Martin
·  Favorite Food: macaroni and cheese!
·  Favorite Hobby: crafting
·  Favorite Sports Team: New England Patriots
·  Favorite Dessert: cheesecake!

- February 2022

Hi Gant Families,

My name is Laurie Wheels, and I'm the counselor at Minne Gant. I grew up in Anaheim and went to college at CSULB. I lived in Long Beach for about 15 years, until I moved to Huntington Beach.

When I first began my career in Long Beach Unified at Barton Elementary, I taught third grade. I have also taught fifth grade. I went back to school to get my master's in counseling. I have been working in Long Beach Unified for 34 years. I love the city of Long Beach and have had wonderful experiences with all my schools. I have been at Barton, Willard, Hudson, Naples, Lowell, Fremont, Henry, Keller, Twain and Gant. 

I am married to my husband, John. We have two boys, Matthew (10th) and Michael (7th). We also have two dogs, Lola and Gabby. Yes, they are girls, to balance out our house. We are a camping family and love spending time outdoors. My favorite hobby is to cook and bake. I love new recipes!!

It is a pleasure to be at Gant and work with all the children, staff and parents.

- March 2022