2011 OUTSTANDING TEACHER OF AMERICA
Physics and Engineering Teacher
Lennox Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy
Jose earned both his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and Masters Degree in Education from Loyola Marymount University.
Jose came to the United State from El Salvador when he was only one. He grew up amidst the gangs of south central Los Angeles. Yet, with the support of his parents, he was able to avoid the gang activity and focus on going to school. Following his graduation from Loyola Marymount University, he was immediately hired by Boeing Aerospace where he worked for six years. While at Boeing, and wishing to give back to his community, he volunteered his time as a tutor for middle school students.
As Boeing made changes, Jose was offered a choice to move out of the area or lose his job. He was eventually laid off and chose to enter the teaching profession. He began teaching at Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles, where he taught Physics for two years and before moving to Lennox Academy where he has been teaching Physics and Engineering for the past 4 years.
One of the students who nominated Jose said, "Mr. Rivas changed my life completely. He saw potential in me and kept telling me I could learn physics. I resisted, but he was the ONLY one who ever told me I was smart and could do something with my life. He was different and really passionate about physics. Nothing rattled him. He was relaxed, nothing seemed to ever rattle him. He made us work harder than any teacher I ever had and no one ever prepared me as much for college as he did. He brought math to life and I learned to love it because of his love for it.