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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

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

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 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

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 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