The Marvelous Ms. Mog


Angela Mogilefsky, English teacher and BSU advisor nicknamed “Ms. Mog”, was born in Evanston, Illinois, but Mogilefsky’s father received a job offer in Washington when she was one year old. So, the family packed up and moved west, where Mogilefsky grew up in the small rural town of Ferndale, Washington.

“When I was a kid we would run around in the woods and build forts and we just had a lot of independence…We had a bookmobile that came around once every three or four weeks which was a very big deal at the time.”

A rather tomboyish girl, Mogilefsky lived a peaceful and happy life in her idyllic town until she hit age 12.

“I realized that I was stuck in the middle of nowhere… and I festered.”

She suddenly found herself spending time reading books, sulking in her room, listening to depressing music, and writing “really terrible poetry.” Throughout high school, which Mogilefsky described as “painful,” she kept her head down and dreamed of leaving the small town she felt trapped in. She craved freedom. The saving grace in her high school career was sneaking up past the Canadian border into Vancouver, where Mogilefsky found respite from her small town life.

“I went to the University of Washington in Seattle, partially for financial reasons… I did apply to a few places in New York too. I was gonna get the heck outta here and be in New York! I was never going to get married, never going to have kids, going to live in a penthouse, woo! But I stayed in Washington and that was a really good choice. I would never move back there, but Seattle is a good place.”

College life came as a shock to Mogilefsky. For a student who had breezed through high school with straight A’s and barely had any homework, the sudden onslaught of readings, papers, and deadlines was jarring.

“I got into some really bad habits, I skipped class a lot and I crashed and burned.”

Despite this tumultuous era, Mogilefsky worked hard to regain her spot at the top of her class. She settled down and got more serious about her education. She ended up graduating with a business degree with a concentration in marketing.

“It was a strange first job, but I got a job at the Federal Reserve as an account manager in Seattle… I was making decent money at the time, I paid off my debts, and things were good.”

Mogilefsky then switched from her Federal Reserve job into the finance world, where she was brought into a startup technology company by her former boss. When the small startup was bought out by a larger company, Mogilefsky faced a crossroads: take a nice severance package or start over with a new company. At the same time, Mogilefsky was getting out of a 6-year marriage, so she decided to take the severance package and make the big move she had been dreaming of. Initially, Mogilefsky thought she would move to her dream city, New York, but the few weeks she spent there didn’t give her the sense of belonging she had been searching for ever since she turned 12.

Mogilefsky came back to Seattle and took a road trip down to Los Angeles.

“I remember coming through Oregon and Northern California through Mt. Shasta… it was like moles being exposed to lights.”

Soon, Mogilefsky settled down in sunny Southern California. She got a job and began working with a political volunteer group, where she met her current husband. 

“The timing was right and the chemistry was right and we just hit it off.”

Mogilefsky moved to West Hollywood and got engaged to her husband, where they managed an apartment building for a while. In 2006, she married her husband and three years later she got pregnant. With her husband having a stable job as a script analyst and Mogilefsky working at a software company, the couple began developing a grand plan. Mogilefsky was unhappy at her unfulfilling software job so she planned to slowly get her teaching credentials at Loyola Marymount University and start teaching when her daughter was in kindergarten. However, the timeline was moved up by a few years when her husband was laid off from his job. As the young couple struggled to maintain their life, Mogilefsky tested into a teaching program as her husband worked as a contract-based script analyst.

“There was another student and he was great. He and I were neck and neck for top student…he missed a couple points on a paper and I just barely beat him. I still have the plaque hanging up at home.”

For her student teaching job, Mogilefsky was assigned to Santa Monica High School, where she was hired full time. However, the long commute on top of teaching three prep classes pushed Mogilefsky to find alternate teaching options. 

“After a year [at Santa Monica], my neighbor, a chemistry teacher, let me know about an opening at PVHS and I jumped at it. I was so excited to be able to apply for the position. I was hired at the same time as Ms. Palosaari and Mrs. Mindicino.”

As of 2022, Mogilefsky has been teaching at PV High for eight years. Her husband signed on permanently with Sony and her daughter attends PVIS. 

“You never know where life is going to take you. It’s always good to be kind and keep learning. There’s always more to learn, as I found out, sometimes the easy way and sometimes the hard way.”