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Virtual Academy's Little named Pleasanton Unified Teacher of the Year

Math educator serves as mentor to students, colleagues alike

Arick Little (third from right) celebrates being named the 2022 Teacher of the Year. (Photo courtesy PUSD)

Arick Little, a math teacher at the Pleasanton Virtual Academy, is the winner of Pleasanton Unified School District's Teacher of the Year award.

Arick Little has worked for PUSD for 32 years. (Photo courtesy PUSD)

"I feel very honored and surprised, when we have many really outstanding teachers in our district. So for me to be recognized, I definitely feel very humbled and honored," Little told the Weekly in an interview after the district announced his award last week.

Little has been a mentor to fellow teachers and inspires students through mathematics and identifying where they are in their educational trajectory to help them excel, according to district officials. He is also known for his role in creating a community beyond the classroom, leading fun social activities like group hikes.

"(He) has been instrumental in leading our certificated team in reimagining the ways we support students over the past several years and now, through the Virtual Academy," PUSD Superintendent David Haglund said. "Mr. Little helps inspire students to discover a love for learning by following their own unique path."

Little has taught in PUSD for 32 years, beginning as a math teacher at Amador Valley High School and later serving as an instructional coach and integration specialist in the district before joining the Pleasanton Virtual Academy program.

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He spoke to the Weekly about his days as an integration specialist and credited it for providing a learning opportunity observing various techniques from teachers from across the districts.

"It gave me the chance to reform my craft and be able to adjust the way that I deliver lessons and work with students and be able to meet the diverse needs of so many of our different students," Little said.

In his own education growing up, Little said he struggled in math as a high school student and experienced firsthand the difference a good teacher could make in a student's life, using that as inspiration to become a mentor to students and teachers alike.

"I noticed the impact that my math teacher had in helping me to grow in this subject and that's what motivated me to want to become a teacher," he said.

The best reward as a teacher is to watch students overcome challenges and grasp the concepts of math, according to Little.

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"When it finally happens, it's a huge victory. And it really just puts a smile on the teacher's face," he said.

Fellow teachers appreciate his teaching techniques and applaud him for helping students with methods tailored according to needs.

"I have personally witnessed the most hesitant of math students come to a level of comfort in math, and a renewed belief in their own abilities under Arick's guidance," one unidentified colleague told the district during the Teacher of the Year process.

As the districtwide winner, Little is now being considered for the Alameda County Teacher of the Year award program later this year. He said it's an honor but an overwhelming feeling nonetheless.

"I will definitely put my best foot forward, and I think that the teachers in Pleasanton are excellent," Little said. "I'll do what I can to have them recognized. I'm proud to represent them in the county contest and I look forward to seeing how that turns out."

Arick Little, a career math teacher, works with a student in the Virtual Academy. (Photo courtesy PUSD)

Shiri Marwaha moved to the Bay Area nine years ago. She got her associate in arts from De Anza College and transferred to San Jose State University to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. Read more >>

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Virtual Academy's Little named Pleasanton Unified Teacher of the Year

Math educator serves as mentor to students, colleagues alike

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, May 9, 2022, 4:54 pm

Arick Little, a math teacher at the Pleasanton Virtual Academy, is the winner of Pleasanton Unified School District's Teacher of the Year award.

"I feel very honored and surprised, when we have many really outstanding teachers in our district. So for me to be recognized, I definitely feel very humbled and honored," Little told the Weekly in an interview after the district announced his award last week.

Little has been a mentor to fellow teachers and inspires students through mathematics and identifying where they are in their educational trajectory to help them excel, according to district officials. He is also known for his role in creating a community beyond the classroom, leading fun social activities like group hikes.

"(He) has been instrumental in leading our certificated team in reimagining the ways we support students over the past several years and now, through the Virtual Academy," PUSD Superintendent David Haglund said. "Mr. Little helps inspire students to discover a love for learning by following their own unique path."

Little has taught in PUSD for 32 years, beginning as a math teacher at Amador Valley High School and later serving as an instructional coach and integration specialist in the district before joining the Pleasanton Virtual Academy program.

He spoke to the Weekly about his days as an integration specialist and credited it for providing a learning opportunity observing various techniques from teachers from across the districts.

"It gave me the chance to reform my craft and be able to adjust the way that I deliver lessons and work with students and be able to meet the diverse needs of so many of our different students," Little said.

In his own education growing up, Little said he struggled in math as a high school student and experienced firsthand the difference a good teacher could make in a student's life, using that as inspiration to become a mentor to students and teachers alike.

"I noticed the impact that my math teacher had in helping me to grow in this subject and that's what motivated me to want to become a teacher," he said.

The best reward as a teacher is to watch students overcome challenges and grasp the concepts of math, according to Little.

"When it finally happens, it's a huge victory. And it really just puts a smile on the teacher's face," he said.

Fellow teachers appreciate his teaching techniques and applaud him for helping students with methods tailored according to needs.

"I have personally witnessed the most hesitant of math students come to a level of comfort in math, and a renewed belief in their own abilities under Arick's guidance," one unidentified colleague told the district during the Teacher of the Year process.

As the districtwide winner, Little is now being considered for the Alameda County Teacher of the Year award program later this year. He said it's an honor but an overwhelming feeling nonetheless.

"I will definitely put my best foot forward, and I think that the teachers in Pleasanton are excellent," Little said. "I'll do what I can to have them recognized. I'm proud to represent them in the county contest and I look forward to seeing how that turns out."

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