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Fairmont Teacher Comes Full Circle

It’s been said, “to teach is to touch lives forever.” At Fairmont Private Schools, teachers inspire and encourage students every day. In fact, several Fairmont graduates have come back after college to teach here. This phenomenon is called the Fairmont Full Circle, and it has become a common occurrence.

This was definitely the case for Fairmont math teacher, Stephen Whitlock who currently teaches pre-calculus and calculus. A member of the Fairmont family for the past seven years, he knew in his junior year at Fairmont Preparatory Academy that he wanted to become a teacher. He just couldn’t imagine at the time that he would become a math teacher. Once a subject he struggled to master, Whitlock was determined to overcome his challenges with math and excel.

Inspired by his teacher, Sam Calavitta, who still teaches at Fairmont Prep, that’s exactly what transpired. “Sam took a subject that was intimidating and foreign, and made it completely clear, easy to understand and something I could master.” Now, Mr. Whitlock is determined to pay it forward by inspiring his own students. “Math, especially when students get into advanced classes like pre-calculus and calculus in high school, can be challenging. I always remind parents that it’s not uncommon for students to struggle somewhat in these courses.”

Building on his own challenges with math, Whitlock has created an engaging and positive environment which enthusiastically sets the stage for learning. From playing math-related games for extra credit and finding the best way to explain a complex problem, to greeting each student at the door, Whitlock is determined to connect with his students to help them succeed, “My go-to secret weapon is having fun while learning, and practicing math, all at the same time”

In his first year of teaching, when his classes were about to go on winter break, he jokingly asked his students to send him a postcard. A few did, and he proudly displayed them on his classroom wall. Over the past seven years, he’s accumulated over 250 postcards from his students from almost every state and country. The postcard wall has become a giant cooperative and a beautiful piece of art, “It’s a way for my students to leave their memory, and their mark in my classroom, and that always makes me smile.”

For Whitlock, celebrating the successes of his students is the reason he teaches. He proudly displays a sign at the front of his classroom that simply says “YOU CAN!” It serves as a constant reminder for everyone, including Whitlock, that no challenge is ever too big! Stephen Whitlock is living proof that with hard work and dedication comes success.

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”