2005 OUTSTANDING TEACHER OF AMERICA
English Teacher, Granite Hills High School; Porterville, California
Evan Hackett has been teaching for approximately fifteen years. He came to Granite Hills at the opening of the school in 1999. Before coming to Granite Hills, he taught at Monache High School, in a more affluent neighborhood across town.
Mr. Hackett currently teaches mainstream, honors and AP courses, including Journalism (grades 9-12), English I Composition, AP English Language and AP Composition. He conducts in-service education for teachers on CLAD (Cross-Cultural, Language and Academic Development) Testing, for a multiple subject credential, and the Jane Schaffer Approach to the Multi-Paragraph Essay. Also active in the district office, Mr. Hackett has worked with district committees to develop high school entrance exams and to align the English departments with standards.
Two years ago he initiated a journalism class and now produces the school's online newspaper, 'The Grizzly Gazette', which is updated daily. Both in its first and second years, the 'Grizzly' has been a finalist in a national high school journalism contest.
Mr. Hackett achieves unbelievable results with his students because the students know how hard he works for them. They have so much respect for him that if he says they can do something, they believe him and get it done. Hackett is a great role model and a great motivator. He is very intelligent and gives creative assignments that get students involved in learning. He is also very modest and tends to give others credit for success and knowledge, even when he deserves it. This serves him well in the in the classroom.
Granite Hills was opened six years ago to ease the overcrowding in Porterville's two other high schools. When it opened with just a freshman and sophomore class of about 450 students, the school was small and the faculty was like a family. The teachers and administrators, who also came from the local schools, looked upon the school as a chance to start new traditions and break old stereotypes. The majority of them are still there, although there are now almost twice as many teachers.
Mr. Hackett chaired the English Department from the start and was active in all of the school development. He helped establish a culture that was student-centered and built around the theory that low income, which is pervasive in the area, should not be a hindrance to student achievement and the pursuit of a four-year college education.
In the community, Mr. Hackett works with parents, students and teachers to promote school-choice, freedom to choose which school to attend, in the Porterville Unified School District high schools. Mr. Hackett received his degrees from California State University at Northridge and Fresno Pacific University