Before spending 18 years at the Castaic Union School District, Carla Huffman began teaching in 1988 in Studio City, then in Reseda for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Huffman and her family moved to Castaic in 2002, and when enrolling her son, she heard of a Castaic Elementary School teaching position that caught her interest.
The following year, Huffman began teaching second grade at Northlake Hills Elementary and stayed at the school until her retirement earlier this year.
“I went from L.A. Unified, which is a huge district, to Castaic, which is much smaller, and I wasn’t just an employee number anymore. I’d walk in the district office and they’d know my name,” said Huffman.
Being able to work in the same community where she works, Huffman said, gave her the opportunity to meet with parents and develop a more personal relationship with her students.
Huffman was recognized as Teacher of the Year by the Castaic district in 2009.
“I was in shock because I felt I was just doing my job,” she said. “Being recognized on that level was such a shock, but I felt ecstatic.”
She said that being acknowledged by the district was a great motivator, and that teachers would find it encouraging to put in more time to help students succeed.
“There are kids who struggle, kids who have tough home lives and other issues which can cause issues in a classroom, so to be noticed the district was really incredible,” said Huffman.
Although Huffman said there wasn’t one standout moment in her career, she felt as though being able to take on leadership positions and help children learn new skills was greatly satisfying.
During the last few years at Northlake Hills, Huffman started an intervention program where teachers can provide additional services to kindergarten through sixth-grade students. Educational programs used at the school are able to give students a diagnosis, and from that information, Huffman was able to develop lesson plans based on the areas that need more attention.
“The entire time I felt supported by the administrators,” said Huffman. “I wouldn’t have been able to do these things in a bigger district. If I had questions, I’d be able to go into the office and get answers.”
Now that both Huffman and her husband have retired from teaching, her plans include traveling and visiting family.
“I have family living up in the Washington area,” she said. “Other than that, who knows? I haven’t closed the door to any options.”