Alicia Torrez

Alicia Torrez

City and state: Tacoma, WA

High school attended: Clover Park High School

Graduation year: 2007

Colleges attended/degrees earned:

Pacific Lutheran University, Bachelor of Arts in Education

Current career/job:

Seventh-grade teacher at Mann Middle School

Describe the path you took from high school graduation to where you are today:

I graduated from Clover Park High School (CPHS) with two years of college under my belt thanks to Running Start. I knew I wanted to be a teacher but I still wanted to “ease in” to the college life. Instead of jumping right in to the School of Education, I took a year at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) to take some of the prerequisite courses they normally require of freshman. In taking those classes, I solidified a love for history and culture (a love that was sparked by Mr. Kevin Rupprecht, my ninth- and 10th-grade humanities teacher) and decided to make that my teaching path. I majored in education with an emphasis in history. During my student teaching experience, I must have made an impression; I got a call that summer asking if I’d take a job at Stewart Middle School. I spent four years there becoming the teacher I am today before moving to the Clover Park School District to be at Mann.

How did your experiences in Clover Park School District help prepare you for this path?

I had incredible teachers throughout my time in Clover Park. I think back to Connie Shines and John Nystrom in eighth-grade and Kevin Rupprecht in ninth- and 10th-grade. These teachers, with their unique class structure and personalities, helped shape me into the teacher that I am. When I think, “who do I want to be in the classroom?” I think of my teachers in CPSD.

Who was the most influential teacher or administrator to you as a student in the district? Why?

I’ve said his name in every question! Kevin Rupprecht was such an inspiration to me as a teacher and as a student. The way he challenged me to always be better (despite sometimes thinking I was already the most wonderful thing ever) and encouraged deeper thinking of me was admirable. He never let anyone slide in class; he held students accountable for being decent humans and professional students, and I really appreciate that about him.

Do you have any favorite memories from when you attended school in Clover Park School District?

Drama club! My best memories come from Clover Park’s theatrical productions. We had such silly friends and such incredible adults who supported us in it.

What opportunities exist in your career sector for new graduates? Is postsecondary education required for this field?

You absolutely need a degree in education, but we are in great need of dedicated educators! I highly encourage a master’s degree for both the preparation and the pay grade.