EDCOE Team Member Spotlight - Anna Njoten
11:30 AM - November 13, 2019
Interview with Anna Njoten:
Briefly describe your background (where you grew up, family, why you came to work for EDCOE).
I grew up in a rural farming community in San Diego County, went to college at UC Santa Barbara, and moved to South Lake Tahoe nineteen years ago. I have an older sister and younger brother, and my parents were avocado farmers in San Diego but relocated to Placerville a few years ago. I have two wonderful sons that are eighteen and twelve. I came to work for EDCOE because I am passionate about alternative education and was given the opportunity to work as an intern at the Juvenile Treatment Center while earning my special education credential.
What is your department, title, and how long have you worked for EDCOE?
I am in my third year working for the Special Services department as an Education Specialist at Blue Ridge School inside the Juvenile Treatment Center in South Lake Tahoe.
Describe how your role helps support programs/schools/students directly or indirectly.
I am directly supporting students as a case manager for incarcerated middle and high school students that have Individualized Education Programs, and I also teach general education classes with a focus on mathematics. I enjoy helping students to understand their strengths and potential and how to overcome obstacles to learning.
What do you most appreciate about your department/team?
My department and team has been innovative in the past few years to make big changes in the curriculum, culture, and classroom environment at Blue Ridge. I most appreciate the willingness of our team to change and grow together so that our students can have a richer program. We all communicate openly and listen to and value one another’s input which has allowed us to make positive changes for our students.
What is your proudest moment at EDCOE? Why?
Last spring I was honored to perform the djembe with all of my students in front of a room full of prominent community members, educators, and probation employees. It was the culminating activity for a powerful mindfulness-based program called Drumming Forward. I was so proud of my students for being brave and performing beautifully in front of an audience.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. I love to travel, read, and bake with my younger son. One of my favorite things to do is go hear live Bluegrass music. I’m always looking for my next show.
What is something many people may not know about you?
I have actually worked for EDCOE four times over the past nineteen years. I have taught Early Head Start, Head Start, State Preschool, the CARE program, and now at Blue Ridge. I just kept finding my way back to EDCOE.
If you could meet anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
I would like to meet Jane Austin. She has been my favorite author since I was the age of my students. I love her wit, humor, and talent for telling a good romance full of social commentary.
From supervisor, Carey Buchanan, Principal, Blue Ridge:
Anna is a crucial member of our team at Court School. She not only teaches multiple subjects but is also a Special Ed teacher and sees to the numerous needs of our Special Ed population. All who have contact with her have nothing but praise for her as a teacher and professional. She is very collaborative in nature and is very good at coming up with solutions to problems. Anna is always willing to try new things and has been instrumental in implementing new curriculum at Court School such as ALEKS Math and Financial Literacy. She takes on new tasks easily and has a good way of introducing new topics to students in an effort to get buy-in from all.
Anna always has a smile and a kind word for everyone. She is such a good leader and has been so helpful at mentoring some of our new staff. Our staff and subs frequently comment that she is the best they have seen and they always ask to work in her classroom. She has a gift for working with challenging students. She puts them at ease immediately with her calm demeanor and is quite skilled at deescalating behavior.
Anna’s passion for her work is evident and she is highly respected in the field. She is a perfect match for the Court School population, and we are grateful to have her!