Edison High teacher named a California Teacher of the Year uses a ‘hands-on, minds-on’ approach

Gregory Gardiner, center, an environmental science and biology teacher at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, is honored in May as a 2018 Orange County Teacher of the Year. Gardiner is now one of five educators selected as 2018 California Teachers of the Year.
(File Photo)

A teacher at Edison High School in Huntington Beach is one of five educators selected as 2018 California Teachers of the Year.

The California Department of Education said Gregory Gardiner, who teaches environmental science and biology, will be honored by state schools Supt. Tom Torlakson at a gala in Sacramento on Feb. 12.

Gardiner said in an interview that Torlakson called him last week during class to give him the news.

“I was totally surprised. I’m excited to be one of five teachers representing California and my district,” Gardiner said.

Gardiner already was honored in May as one of six 2018 Orange County Teachers of the Year.

He began his teaching career in 1999 at Torrance High School as a science instructor. He arrived at the Huntington Beach Union High School District in 2001 as an administrator before returning to the classroom at Edison High.

Gardiner said he uses a “hands-on, minds-on” approach when teaching his students.

He partners with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for its Trout in the Classroom program, in which students learn about fish habitats while watching eggs hatch.

He also created a science elective class for students with special needs in which he grows plants in and outside the classroom so students can see the difference between them.

“I just love to teach science and connect it with kids and their world,” Gardiner said.

Jennifer Graves, principal of Edison High, said Gardiner is one of the reasons the campus has its Innovation Lab, a space for hands-on lessons in science, technology, engineering and math, known as the STEM fields.

“The greatest thing is his passion,” Graves said. “He loves to teach and he wants students to get fired up and learn.”

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