Janice Garcia nominated Cliff Judd for Class Acts. Garcia said Judd encouraged her son to excel in every subject, especially science. Garcia said Judd helped find her son's talents. She said Judd has a great sense of humor that makes learning fun and puts everyone at ease.
Name: Cliff Judd
Occupation: Fifth-grade teacher at Enslen Elementary
Family: Wife, Mary; daughter and son-in-law Kari and Chris; son and daughter-in-law Matt and Anne.
Background: Attended UC Berkeley, UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles.
Teaching experience: 33 years, mostly in Modesto City Schools: Robertson Road, Burbank, Roosevelt Jr. High and Enslen.
Why did you get into teaching? I enjoy a challenging, changing environment working with people. Kids are the best people.
What is your favorite thing about being a teacher? Working with kids and their endless energy and ideas. Also, I am blessed to work with a fantastic staff, especially the upper-grade teachers, and supportive parent-teacher club.
What is the most challenging part of your job? Attempting to humanize No Child Left Behind.
Favorite teaching tool or activity in the classroom: Hands-on science is the best. The kids have built a whale, raised salmon from eggs and visited Monterey Bay Aquarium.
What's next in your classroom? We have art classes with Nancy Smith. We're getting ready to investigate Slime and Gak, and we'll have a great time at the Phil Hennessey Memorial Fun Run.
Advice for new teachers: Listen to your heart and use your mind to take you there.
Advice for students: Keep being kids, don't give up and do your homework.
Advice for parents: Listen to your kids and be an active member of your school's community. P.S. A sense of humor also helps.
Future plans: I'm looking forward to being a grandpa.
How do you to reach students not interested in school? Our schools have a tremendous focus on testing. The challenge is to offer all kids the motivation they need to embrace what education is all about.
What would surprise people about your job? I get paid for what I really enjoy doing.
What did you do on your summer vacation? Mary and I love to travel, visit family, garden, read and fish.
COMPILED BY JILLIAN HANKS,
BEE NEWSROOM ASSISTANT