Venice Says Goodbye to Retiring Teachers

Ms. Shereen Nagata and Miss Judith A. Schefke will be retiring this year.

Yesenia Garcia-Ochoa, Reporter

Venice will say goodbye to several teachers retiring this year. Two of them are Ms. Shereen Nagata and Miss Judith A. Schefke.

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Ms. Nagata came to Venice in 1988 and started at the World Language Magnet that used to be called the Foreign Language and International Studies Magnet. She has taught Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Trigonometry. She has never taught Calculus because as she says, “I’ll leave that for the experts.”

“I’m going to miss the students,” she said. “The best moments are when I see students graduate. I see them grow from freshman year. The best part is when they come and tell you how successful they are in college.”

Ms. Nagata graduated from UCLA with a degree in mathematics and started her teaching career at a middle school in the San Fernando Valley. She was then recruited for a computer education camp for three years, before coming to Venice.

“I’ve had a wonderful career at Venice High School. I would not imagine teaching anywhere else,” she said. Another thing she will miss is her room with all the projects she has collected over the past 28 years.

“I sent both of my kids to Venice and before they used to help me decorate my classroom,” she said. “I’m going to miss the Venice community and the really supportive alumni.” Her plans after her retirement are to rest and travel. She wants to explore China, go back to Europe where she has previously traveled to Italy, France and England.

“Ms. Nagata has been a hard worker all these years,” said Ms. Chew, Ms.Nagata’s close friend for 16 years. “She loves her students and have always wanted them to do well. She always does above and beyond what’s expected. I love hearing her laugh across the hall. She’s always very jolly. Most students consider her an on
campus-mother. I’m going to miss her.”

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Miss Judith A. Schefke is leaving teaching after 20 years. She taught Life Skills when she first came to Venice, and after a few years she began to teach ESL levels one through four, English 9 sheltered, and Advanced ELD, both levels. She has taught for 12- and-a-half years at Venice, after teaching at Dorsey for seven-and-a-half-years.

She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor degree in English. She then received her Masters in Education and her Teaching Credential at USC in 1996. Miss Shefke stated that she’s here for her students.

“They know that they can talk to me about anything and that I will help them in anyway that I am able,” said Miss Shefke.

“I don’t know what my next career will be,” she said. “You know that when one door closes, another door opens.”

“She’s very dedicated, very intense,” said Ms. Aura Talley, the Target Student Population counselor who has been friends with Ms. Schefke for seven years. “She fights for her English Learning students and always goes the extra mile for them. She’s their voice. She loves and admires them.”