Teacher Talk Profiles

Teacher Talk

Overview

Teacher Talk is a series of profiles on California teachers and other educators.

Teacher Talk

Tony Brancato, substitute teacher at Beaumont Unified School District and retired principal, Orcutt Union School District
Retirement didn’t stop this educator from going back to substitute full time. ‘I say teaching is like a disease, almost.'

Tony Brancato wears a blue shirt and glasses. His wife Barbara is wearing a green shirt and smiling.

Tony Brancato loves education so much he couldn’t stay retired. After 20 years as a principal and seven years as a teacher, he tried to stop working. 

“I got bored at home. Even though we have a little farm and there’s a lot to do. I started subbing,” Brancato said.

Teacher Talk

John Carratello, retired 2016, San Jacinto Unified School District
After three decades of teaching, retiree focuses on better learning methods for elementary education.

John Carratello wears a black jacket and jeans and leans against a fence post with a tree in the background.

Author, musician, educator—John Carratello is a person of many talents. Along with his wife, Patricia—a former Riverside County Teacher of the Year—he’s published over 100 educational products, including classroom instructional materials, seminars and support materials for interactive educational software. In 2016, he retired from teaching elementary school after 30 years.

Teacher Talk

Retired, again: Cecilia Estrada, retired 2003, San Diego Unified School District
Former administrator enjoyed 16 years with philanthropy.

Cecilia Estrada smiles and sits outside with greenery in the background.

Cecilia Estrada began her career in 1966 and tried to retire 37 years later. After a quick break, she ended up working for Price Philanthropies in San Diego. Until December, she was still working with students, from preschool to high school—as director of a learning center. Now she’s retired for the second time. Read her original profile here.

“I’m not going to say that if something comes up that I won’t work again. I love what I do, but retirement is new. I do love to work,” Estrada said.

Teacher Talk

Josh Fernandez, Folsom Lake College, Mule Creek State Prison
Professor works with prisoners, formerly incarcerated students

Community college professor Josh Fernandez is wearing a hat, glasses, hoodie and a shirt that says community college.

Community college professor Josh Fernandez didn’t take a direct path to teaching, nor was it originally his calling. It took finding someone who believed in him while he was in college and a whole other career in journalism before he became a professor. Now, he works to help prisoners and formerly incarcerated students, as well as his community.

Teacher Talk

Cecilia Estrada, retired 2003, San Diego Unified School District
Former administrator just couldn’t quit working. She developed parent education workshops, now runs learning center.

Cecilia Estrada sits with a laptop and colorful learning materials for children.

Former teacher and administrator Cecilia Estrada began her career in 1966 and tried to retire 37 years later. After a quick break, she ended up working for Price Philanthropies in San Diego. Now she’s working with students again—from pre-school to high school—as director of a learning center.

Teacher Talk

Margaret Hicks, Oak Tree Community Day School
Teacher focuses on building relationships with students

Teacher Margaret Hicks wears a blue sweater and white shirt and smiles.

Margaret Hicks builds connections with her fifth and sixth grade students, challenging the traditional model of discipline in her work at Oak Tree Community Day School in Palmdale.

“Our students generally come to us for behavioral referrals. Sometimes students are placed there due to expulsion. Our class size is generally small, so we can help build those skills that students are lacking at bigger campuses, where there are classes of more than 30 students,” Hicks said.