Teacher of the Year: Jamie Contois
High School Attended: North High School, Class of 1978
Colleges/University Attended: Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts in English at California State University, Long Beach. Beauty Certificate from Cerritos College. Teaching Credential from Point Loma Nazarene University - Bakersfield.
Hobbies: Reading non-fiction memoirs and anything by John Steinbeck, loves to stay physically active through cycling, and is a die hard New England Patriots fan that dabbles in the world of Fantasy Football.
GPS Focus: GROWTH
What Makes Jamie Contois #BulldogSTRONG: As a young child, one thing was clear for Jamie Contois - she loved to read. Contois enjoyed going to the library and putting her hands on and reading as many books as she possibly could. In 4th grade, her love of reading and learning was enhance as she was a student in Rose Martin’s class at Beardsley Elementary School. “She really brought learning to life and I genuinely loved going to her class,” Contois recollects, “Every day she would read to us Little Britches and play the piano and sing songs to us. It was a warm, caring, and nurturing environment.” Her love of reading and learning continued through her years at North High School and in her decision to attend California State University, Long Beach as an English major. Not settling for just a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Contois also attained a Master of Arts Degree in English from the same university. Now, one would think with the academic prowess of Contois that she was destined for the college or university life, but Contois had other aspirations. As she was in graduate school, Contois was also enrolled at beauty school at Cerritos College as cutting hair was one of her hobbies and passions and it would be cutting hair, not teaching English, that would consume the next 20 years of her life as she spent time in Orange County and Bakersfield respectively. One of the highlights of her career as a stylist is that she became the unofficial official stylist for the Anaheim Angels - a Major League Baseball team. Contois cut the hair of some of the iconic Angels of the 1990s from Mark Langston to Scott Bails to the entire Angels bullpen. Contois was even featured in the July 13, 1992 edition of Sports Illustrated cutting Scott Bailes hair while donning her own extravagant 1990s hairstyle.
On July 13, 1992, Jamie Contois was featured in Sports Illustrated cutting hair for the Anaheim Angels.
However, after 20 years of cutting hair, Contois was ready for a change and so she turned to her love of reading and learning as guide in the next phase of her life. In 2007, she enrolled at Point Loma Nazarene University in Bakersfield in order to attain her Teaching Credential to English in the high school setting. In the 2008-2009 school year, Contois was hired as an intern English teacher at Golden Valley High School, a place she called home for her entire career as and English teacher. By lunch time of her first day ever teaching, Contois wanted to quit the profession and questioned her ability to teach students and genuinely make a difference. However, her 7th period of her first year teaching, saved her career, helping to instill the confidence necessary to be an effective English teacher. This was Contois’ GROWTH moment. Contois genuinely loves all aspects of Golden Valley from the students, teachers, staff, and administration because of the endless support that she has received over the years. Contois’ teaching philosophy is focused on connections with her students while also delving into their curiosity. “Connections with students are sometimes more important than the content that is taught because it demonstrates a level of caring that they need,” explains Contois. Besides, being an excellent English teacher for the past decade, Contois has left her mark on Golden Valley as she created the acronym GPS - Growth, Pride, and Service - the central tenets of being #BulldogSTRONG. For her efforts, Contois was selected as the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year at Golden Valley High School and will represent the Bulldogs at the Kern County Teacher of the Year ceremony this spring.
What #BulldogSTRONG Means to Jamie Contois: "Being #BulldogSTRONG means treating others the way that you want to be treated. I think that it is important not only for students to treat staff members with kindness and respect, but it is imperative that we as teachers treat our students with the same dignity. Furthermore, being #BulldogSTRONG means that if you are going to accomplish a task, do it the best you can and GROW from it. GROWTH is important to me and there is nothing that brings me more excitement than when a student recognizes their own improvement from a previous experience."
What Golden Valley Thinks of Jamie Contois:
“Mrs. Contois is #BulldogSTRONG because she helps her students succeed. If a student does not understand a concept, she is there to ensure that they are learning. When I had her as a freshman, she would not move on from a subject if we failed to meet the expectation. Mrs. Contois explains things really well and along with her positive attitude, her class was extremely enjoyable.” - Christopher Aldaco, 12th Grade Student, Golden Valley High School
“Mrs. Contois really cares about her students and really cares about them GROWING. I am naturally a shy person and don’t like to talk a lot, but Mrs. Contois made me feel comfortable and gave me the confidence to be myself. She is #BulldogSTRONG she is always positive and because of her attitude, she created a fun classroom environment.” - Guadalupe Herrera, 12th Grade Student, Golden Valley High School
“Jamie Contois inspires a passion for reading and writing among her students. Her students also know that she cares deeply about them; she’s one of their biggest cheerleaders. As a colleague, Jamie Contois is always seeking opportunities to hone her teaching skills and to share what she’s learning with others. Without a doubt, Jamie Contois is a top example of what it means to be a #BulldogSTRONG teacher on campus.” - Lana King, English Department Chair, Golden Valley High School“Jamie Contois is #BulldogSTRONG because she is an enthusiastic individual that continues to invest in her students by finding strategies that enhance their learning.
She is not only there for her students within the classroom setting, but it very supportive with students and their extra-curricular activities. She seems to be at every event from football games to wrestling matches to musicals to choir concerts. She genuinely loves her students and her students love her!!” - Geri Antoine, Assistant Principal of Instruction, Golden Valley High School