New La Cañada teachers get a family welcome

First-year La Cañada Unified teachers were welcomed to the community Wednesday, when Kiwanis Club of La Cañada hosted its annual Apple for the Teacher luncheon at Descanso Gardens.

Fresh from a new employee orientation held at the district offices earlier that morning, the new hires got a chance to mix and mingle with each other as well as administrators and school and city officials.

Claire Zee, who will start the academic year as a counselor at La Cañada High School, talked outside Descanso’s Van de Kamp Hall with Daisy Kim, a new seventh-grade English teacher, before the luncheon began.

Although Zee has done some work for the district before, teaching Mandarin, she said next week would be her first day as a school counselor.

“I feel like this is a good way to meet teachers from all different (grade) levels,” Zee said.

Kim agreed, adding that she was looking forward to officially joining the La Cañada school family.

“It seems like the community is very close-knit — that’s a good sign,” she said.

Kiwanis President Tom Passinisi said the luncheon was a great way for club members to meet incoming teachers and for the new hires to, likewise, meet people in city and school administration.

“It’s done in the spirit of how much the Kiwanis in La Cañada appreciate all that teachers do, not only for our kids, but for the community as a whole,” he said.

After participants enjoyed a buffet-style meal of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette introduced administrators from each school to, in turn, introduce their site’s new hires.

As their names were called, each employee received a fresh, red apple as a sign of welcome. Sam Picture, an LCHS 7/8 history teacher, received a distinguished service award for his participation in the school's Kiwanis Builders Club.

Patty Hager, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, said this year, the district had an active hiring season, adding more than 35 new certificated personnel to its roster this school year.

“We appreciate the Kiwanis Club sponsoring this annual event for teachers,” Hager added. “It’s a great demonstration of how our community supports our schools, and it’s a great way to kick off the school year.”

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