Dynamic Magnet Teacher Looks to Empower Students

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Shirley Delgadillo and Kevin Barahona

New Magnet English teacher Diane Wilson is driven to empower her students and impact their future.

But Wilson did not always intend to become an English teacher.

“I was going to be a French interpreter in Paris,” she said. “I took my time getting through college.”

After graduation and reflection, Wilson decided that she wanted to teach literacy to “pay it forward.”

Wilson has taught in LAUSD’s northeast district for 21 years. At an English meeting, Wilson met Poly HS English teacher, Michelle Nellon.

Wilson was having thoughts about leaving her previous job and looked more closely at Poly HS.

“I decided to check the [LAUSD jobs] website and there was a magnet English position opening. And guess what? It was Ms. Nellon’s position because she was becoming coordinator! It was meant to be,” Wilson said.

Now as a teacher of AP and Honors Literature classes, Wilson hopes to teach her students essential writing skills and leave a “lasting impact before [they] go off to college.”

“I didn’t want to teach [kids] to read. I wanted to teach about reading. I wanted to teach about stories and break down ideas, not just how to write,” Wilson said.

She enjoys connecting the themes of a story to historical moments because she believes that providing historical connections as background to students is “more fun than just teaching how to write” and serves them best as critical thinkers.

What Wilson appreciates about Poly High School is that students seem to care about each other, and teachers don’t leave right at 3:00 p.m. and dedicate more time to their students to give students what is needed to succeed.

“I want to be a part of the culture of Poly and not just room 29,” Wilson said. “ I am here to be involved, not just give grades.”

She means it, too. She also signed up to teach Girls Tennis this year, filling a need Poly has had for a few years.

Wilson has a B.A. in History from California State University of Northridge and a Masters in American Studies from Pepperdine University.