An ‘amusing, effusive’ Sonoma Valley Excessive educator duo

High school teachers Andy Mitchell, left, and Andy Gibson, avid Star Wars fans, with lightsabers on the school campus on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune)

Dr. Elizabeth Kaufman, the performing superintendent of Sonoma Valley Unified College District, says that the Andys are “as amusing, effusive workforce.”

“To me, they’re an iconic a part of the Sonoma Valley expertise, and symbolize the kind of related, accessible and enthusiastic educators we would like for our youngsters,” she stated.

Kaufman says that when she displays on the Andys’ impression on college students, she thinks of them individually. She notes that Andy Gibson has advocated for college kids with numerous wants in order that they’ll have entry to superior placement programs all year long and has seen Andy Mitchell have interaction college students with numerous expertise in creating photographic artwork that amazes her when she sees it displayed.

“On this manner, they individually and collectively embody the additive position that every educator performs in a pupil’s life,” Kaufman stated. “We will all attain college students, however we every attain them otherwise and in numerous methods.”

Andrew Ryan, director of human sources for Sonoma Valley Unified College District, performed sports activities with Gibson as they grew up in Sonoma and as their friendship continued into maturity, he grew to become impressed with Gibson’s instructing expertise.

“He has an unwavering religion and a constructive impression on his work, his co-workers and his college students,” Ryan stated. “I might love, whereas serving as a vice principal (at Sonoma Valley Excessive College), to stroll the halls of the Okay Constructing and sneak into his class simply to watch his workforce and … study a bit of one thing. He’s a pillar of assist for college kids and a passionate educator. My impression is that households recognize their college students’ experiences in his lessons, whatever the topic.”

Gibson obtained the 2008 Sonoma Valley Training Basis Excellent Instructor Award, 2014 Buckley Basis Inspirational Instructor Award, 2014 Sonoma State College College of Training Circle of Excellence Award, 2014 Sonoma Valley Training Basis Instructor of the 12 months Award and 2019 Sonoma Valley Unified College District Instructor of the 12 months Award.

Turning to Mitchell, Daniel Pignataro, an IT specialist at Sonoma Valley Excessive College, says that his images and graphic design lessons are among the many district’s excellent options.

“Each my stepsons went by his class, and so I can converse firsthand: He gives an area the place college students can uncover and revel in their creativity and really feel profitable no matter how they carry out in different areas, and on the similar time purchase expertise that they’ll really profit from in the actual world, each professionally and personally,” he stated.

When Mitchell was serving as the college’s yearbook trainer, it received two design awards from Jostens San Diego — first place in 2015 and second place in 2016. He was the runner-up for 2017 Sonoma County Instructor of the 12 months Award. He additionally was featured in JPG, an internet images journal, in 2017, and whereas

Going the additional mile

Colleagues reward the Andys for going past the decision of obligation to assist college students and their faculty, as proven of their each day actions.

“A couple of years again, our district went by tough instances after a mass employees and management exodus,” Pignataro stated. “This had a major impression on each day operations throughout the board, however I significantly keep in mind the campus was in noticeably unhealthy form simply days earlier than reopening. Andy Mitchell took it upon himself to go round and {photograph} all of the soiled partitions, trashed areas and decaying crops to carry consideration to them and initiated a profitable marketing campaign for campus beautification. That’s how a lot he cares about college students.”

Jonathan Beard, the college’s meals and culinary arts trainer provides, “Andy Mitchell will choose up the slack. If one thing must be executed, he will likely be there, generally when no one else is keen. And by no means one to be shy or overly self-conscious, he’s normally keen to take part in student-led occasions, from drag reveals to carnivals.”

English trainer and college librarian Janet Hansen calls Mitchell “an action-oriented, versatile problem-solver.” She recalled a time when she requested him to assist her with a library show displaying pictures of academics with their favourite books.

“I used to be going to snap (the photographs) on my telephone, and I requested Andy to make use of his large-scale printer,” she stated. “He ended up internet hosting photograph periods in his studio, took wonderful skilled photographs of the academics and their books, after which printed them out as lovely coloration posters.”

Sonoma Valley Excessive College math trainer Tammy Rivara recollects a time when Mitchell’s cohort, Andy Gibson — wearing his normal Star Wars costume for Halloween — was challenged to have interaction in a light-weight saber battle by a pupil who additionally was wearing Star Wars gear.

“Andy stopped, pulled up his mild saber, and the 2 of them had a bit of pretend battle within the courtyard,” Rivara stated. “It was superior, they usually had an enormous viewers! It was so Andy. It confirmed his spirit and enthusiasm by dressing up for Halloween and the way he loves working with children and enjoys his time with them. It wasn’t within the classroom, however Andy is identical within the classroom and out. He loves Sonoma Excessive, and he loves his college students.”

Not surprisingly, the Andys get pleasure from some comparable actions of their spare time: spending time with household, swimming, studying and touring to the Sierra Nevada mountains. Mitchell additionally likes to cook dinner and gather Tiki mugs, whereas Gibson enjoys attending Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants video games, his daughter’s soccer video games and Murphy’s Irish Pub Trivia Nights.

Attain the reporter, Dan Johnson, at