Josh Rosenberg named Teacher of the Year
By Ashley Shah
Josh Rosenberg, biology and advanced biology teacher at Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS), was named High School Teacher of the Year for the San Diego Unified School District.
“[Josh] was chosen by a committee of district teachers who were all former district Teachers of the Year who reviewed his application and came to watch him in action in the classroom,” SRHS Principal Matt Lawson said.
Rosenberg, originally from Chicago, graduated from the University of Illinois in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in biology.
“It was a life-long dream of mine to pursue veterinary medicine, but med school was not in the cards for me when I graduated college. I worked as an animal keeper, and bartender for many years, and I moved around a lot. I was in Chicago, Miami and Hawaii,” Rosenberg said.
He moved to San Diego in November 1998 when he started working with the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program.
“When I left the Navy in 2004, I worked in construction for about a year. I had another job bartending at the time as well,” Rosenberg said. “My daughters were younger at the time, and my wife had asked me what I was going to do. I realized that all the jobs I had in the past had to do with teaching other people – being an animal trainer, bartending, construction – so teaching just started to make sense to me.”
He began taking classes at San Diego State University (SDSU) in 2005. He finished his credential program at SDSU in January of 2007.
“Right out of SDSU, I was offered my first teaching position at San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. I stayed there for about two years,” Rosenberg said.
He began teaching biology at SRHS in 2009.
“What I love about teaching biology at Scripps Ranch is that I get all types of students. Some of them come in having had a bad experience in science classes before, and then they come back and tell me in their senior year that they’re going to major in biology,” Rosenberg said. “That’s what really gets me going. I just love seeing students get into something when they originally thought it wasn’t for them.”
This year is his 12th year of being at SRHS.
“One of the things I really enjoy about Scripps Ranch is that I have been working with three other teachers in the biology department for nine years now, and we all work together really well,” Rosenberg said. “When I first started, there was a very set curriculum, and now we’ve been able to really make it our own. We try to do different activities, so it’s not just lecturing every day. We do labs and group work.”
Outside of teaching biology at SRHS, he is heavily involved with the No Place for Hate Program.
“When I was in my third year at Scripps Ranch, I was at a pep rally. We had the people in the pep rally divided by class. There was just a lot of animosity tow-ard the freshmen,” Rosenberg said. “I didn’t like that. High school is about inclusion.”
Rosenberg was able to get a grant from the Friends of Rachel, a program honoring Rachel Scott, a student who was killed in the Columbine shooting. The program was started by parents to create more inclusivity.
“We were able to have workshops and an assembly. These workshops and assemblies had students learning about their differences, which helped them accept each other. It built a sense of community,” Rosenberg said. “The program was around for about two to three years.”
After that, SRHS was able to get involved with the Anti-Defamation League which offers the No Place for Hate program.
“I thought the No Place for Hate program was great. It helps to highlight the differences in people, and how we can appreciate them. We had one good year of events, and then COVID hit,” Rosenberg said. “We are working on trying to do more next year for the No Place for Hate program.”
Other programs Rosenberg has been involved with include advising the Vietnamese Student Association, Jewish Student Association, senior review, and the pre-vet program.
When Rosenberg isn’t at SRHS, he considers himself a wanderer.
“I love exploring hidden places in San Diego. I love to travel. My family always gets mad at me when we travel because my itinerary is packed,” Rosenberg said. “Whenever a student gives me their yearbook, I always write ‘Go Explore.’ There’s so much more out there.”
Rosenberg lives in Del Sur with his wife, two daughters, two cats and a rabbit.
Regarding his future plans, Rosenberg plans to stay at SRHS.
“I won’t be leaving any time soon. I love the students; I love my coworkers; I love the community. I feel when you’ve established yourself somewhere, and demonstrated that you’re there to do good work, there is nowhere else to go,” Rosenberg said.