Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Marshall teacher named best of the year

Four decades removed from his school days in Ohio, Gerald Sharp hasn’t forgotten the influence his teachers held.

“I really admired my elementary school teachers,” said Sharp, 53. “I remember every single one of their names from kindergarten through fifth grade and I just feel like they had an enormous impact in forming my life.”

Now, it is Sharp who is making an impression. The fifth-grade Marshall Elementary School teacher has been named the 2011-12 Glendale Unified Teacher of the Year, and recently finished in the top 24 in the county-wide competition.

The top 16 teachers — which this year included Burbank Unified teacher and Glendale resident Rebecca Mieliwocki — advance to the state competition.


“It really is such a treat to get a chance to go and recognize a handful of the teachers throughout the county and throughout the state who are working so hard,” said school board President Joylene Wagner, who was there Sept. 23 to see Sharp honored by county education officials.

It was not the first time Sharp was recognized by his immediate peers — it marked the second consecutive year he was named Teacher of the Year at Marshall. He also garnered the award multiple times when teaching at Horace Mann Elementary School.

But it was the first time Sharp — who started teaching in Glendale in 1989 — received the district-wide title.

“It is rewarding to be recognized,” Sharp said. “By the same token, I just feel like there are a lot of great teachers in Glendale. I really take my hat off to special education teachers and all kindergarten teachers… It is hard work. And with those students you don’t always see the rewards right away.”


In addition to his responsibilities as a fifth-grade teacher, Sharp is the assistant to the principal, the co-advisor to student government and the PTA president, said Marshall Principal Jacqueline Mora.

“He also has a really great relationship with the parents,” Mora said. “He is willing to meet with them after school. He provides additional intervention for our students.”

And Sharp is always available to his colleagues and students, she added.

“He is willing to go that extra mile for our students,” Mora said. “He really believes in their ability to succeed.”

In addition to his teachers, Sharp recognized his family for inspiring his career in education. He was raised in Ohio alongside a brother with Down syndrome, and his mother was completely dedicated to his care, Sharp said.

Wanting to make a difference, she became a teacher and then a principal, and eventually advanced to the position of superintendent.

Among his most satisfying moments, Sharp said, is when former students return to share their successes.

“I feel that I am here not just to teach them the standards and help them succeed academically, but I want them to succeed personally and socially, and enjoy their life,” he said.