San Benito High School teacher Carissa Filice was recently named Teacher of the Month for September for her hard work and dedication to her job. Filice, who is a chemistry and chemistry honors teacher, said the award, voted on by students, made her “elated and honored.”
Tate Edwards, the head of the science department, said that Filice has had “a great rapport with her kids,” and she has an “easy class demeanor and is very relaxed and composed.” According to Edwards, all these qualities were factors that helped her win the Teacher of the Month award.
Junior Maggie Campo said that Filice is “very encouraging and helpful and she always wants her students to try hard and she is always there to help. She absolutely deserves teacher of the month.”
Before coming to work at SBHS in 2011, Filice attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Prior to choosing to major in chemistry, Filice was going to major in engineering. After taking various chemistry classes for engineering, however, Filice said she learned that she loved chemistry and the professor that she had, Dr. Simek, made her realize she had a passion for the science. She later decided that she wanted to be a teacher because she liked working with people and because it was a natural use for what she enjoyed and she had the skills to do it.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Filice attended Stanford University in a program that put aspiring teachers in a classroom atmosphere immediately in order to get used to teaching students.
Filice was also part of the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation at Stanford, which is a “program for new science and math teachers that help the teachers improve their teaching methods.” Filice has been a fellow of the Knowles program since 2011. The program allows teachers to collaborate online and in person on new ways of teaching.
Filice said that she enjoys teaching because there is something “incredibly powerful about helping people learn” and that teaching is fun, interesting, and challenging. In addition to teaching, Filice is also the coach for the girls’ golf team at SBHS as well as being the club advisor for the Class of 2017. She said teaching at SBHS is “hectic, fun, and always entertaining” and she could see herself working here for many years because she feels she is a part of the Hollister community and she enjoys that feeling.