She played softball and basketball through high school and had multiple offers to play in college. She has been to all 50 states, owns three wiener dogs, and recently got married to her wife, Kristen. She is most likely the best listener you know.
She is Shawna Lopez.
At 27, she has met the love of her life, developed a strong passion and talent for sports, and, despite her dislike and self-proclaimed lack of talent for math, she is the new Geometry and Algebra II teacher at Ojai Valley School.
Born in Moorpark, California, she attended her local high school, Moorpark High School, and moved on to Bakersfield College for two years and graduated from California State University Channel Islands in 2014 with a degree in elementary education.
She and her wife, Kristen, met in high school. After a year of being close friends, they officially began dating. It was official to them, yet no one else knew until 10 years later.
“The biggest hardship of my life was telling my family I was gay,” Mrs. Lopez said.
Mrs. Lopez told her parents that she was lesbian before moving to Chicago with Kristen, due to the fact that Kristen was offered a job and would be going to school there. After telling her parents, Brandon and Lori Sturgill, that she had been in the closet with her girlfriend for nine years, they were very unhappy and in denial.
After this, Mrs. Lopez and her parents did not talk for an entire year until she told them about her proposal to Kristen. However, they attended her wedding on August 12 of this year and have since become more supportive than they were originally.
While attending college, Mrs. Lopez was a substitute teacher in Ventura for kindergarten through 12th grade. When she moved to Chicago, she began subbing again, as she could not find a job.
Philadelphia was where she got her first full-time teaching job, which she applied for on Craigslist. The school offered her a math teaching position and despite the fact that she had never excelled in or liked math, she took the job.
“Sure, I don’t really love math. I didn’t get my degree in it or anything,” Mrs. Lopez said. “[My major was] elementary education. So kindergarten through five, definitely not Algebra. [But,] they were kind of like, you’re hired, here’s the textbooks, figure it out. So I did.”
After teaching in Philadelphia for two years, she moved back to Ventura. Since California teaching license requirements are different, Shawna could only apply to boarding schools or private schools. After searching around, she discovered a job application for OVS.
“I [thought], I’m definitely not hearing back from them, I have no experience. Then, Mr. Floyd called me [saying] ‘Hey, would you like to come in for an interview,” Mrs. Lopez recalled. “ I was like, no way, this is not happening. Then I came up here and I had no idea at this school even existed, I had an interview, and I loved it.
Within her first month of teaching at OVS, she is already loved by all of her students. Senior Sonya Kiperman, an Algebra II student, reveres her and her teaching abilities.
“I think I’m going to love math because of her,” Sonya said.
Sophomore Nina Blankenburg, a first year transfer student from Switzerland, is also a member of Mrs. Lopez’s Algebra II class. She thinks that Mrs. Lopez’s teaching methods are an amazing introduction to American learning.
“She’s an amazing teacher,” Nina beamed. “I learn a lot from her. Her methods are very different from Europe, but they are very effective.”
On top of her contribution in field of math at OVS, Mrs. Lopez is also the assistant sports director and is starting a softball team. She is currently working on a masters degree for Athletic Management and helps out Doug Colborn, the Head Sports Director at Ojai Valley School.
She played softball up to her junior year in high school and coached the freshman team during her senior year. She coached five teams later in life, all of them part of a Travel Ball Organization, a group of teams that travels. It was through this program that Mrs. Lopez got 12 girls signed to college.
She, also, played basketball all though middle and high school and coached boy’s youth basketball for three and a half years. She is now starting to coach at Ojai Valley School.
Mrs. Shawna Lopez is an amazing new part of the Ojai Valley School community and she is looking forward for her future at this school.
“I am loving every moment of teaching at OVS,” she exclaimed.Share