The Point

The Point

The Point

A Minute with Maemoto:

Learning about the 2023 LA County Teacher of the Year
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Rick Licciardello, Teacher of the Year Julie Maemoto, Principal Dr. Trista Rarmirez, and teacher Julie Munoz at the Teacher of the Year awards ceremony (Photo credit Julie Maemoto)

Whether you have had her in class or seen her around campus, Julie Maemoto is a known entity within the Sea King family. From teaching to leading, the many contributions she has made as a teacher have officially been recognized.  

Maemoto kicked off her teaching career by working as a student teacher. Shortly after, she took time off to raise her two children but returned and has been teaching ever since. Although her career started in 1985, her goal from a young age was abundantly clear. Her mother was an elementary school teacher, which established Maemoto’s love for helping students in every way humanly possible. 

“I have always had a knack for teaching—tutoring, working at the church, and helping with my mom in her classroom. I loved helping her grade and she was always so creative. I think my mom was definitely my biggest influence,” said Maemoto. 

The Teacher of the Year award is a huge honor bestowed upon hard-working teachers across our district. Only one teacher from the PVPUSD school district is given the award and has the chance to receive the even more selective award: LAUSD Teacher of the Year. 

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“From LA county teacher of the year, there was a chance to move on to the California state teacher of the year and it was a lengthy 12-page application process. They only gave us three weeks in June and my dad had just passed away. I was about a third of the way done with the application,” said Maemoto. “It was such an honor, but my heart wasn’t there to focus on that.” 

Even though she teaches primarily freshmen, Maemoto still finds ways to make positive impacts on all students interested in science with her involvement in National Science Honors Society and Science Research.  

“I was a Spanish and molecular bio major, and I did research in labs, which is why I really enjoy helping students who are in science research, sometimes helping them as their advisor or just helping them with projects,” she said, 

“Running the Science National Honors Society, I have the chance to get to students who are at a higher level and want to do more of that research. I still find ways to help students in those areas even though I’m not actively teaching them.” 

However, the rewards teachers get are not always in physical form. While it’s nice to get recognized for accomplishments, the real reward is being able to help students excel. 

“Every year you get to see some measurable growth, it can be anything from behavior to changing a student’s attitude towards school and the academic content. But I feel like I get that chance to get 170 students every year to be able to do that. I think one of the most rewarding things is when down the line we get [messages from students] like a student who is now finishing up med school. I’m not active on social media but she found my email address and she emailed me just something that I had done for her as a freshman that was impactful. She wanted to make it a point that she was about the graduate medical school, that all the little things that I had done for her had made a difference.” 

Every email and thank you card that Maemoto has kept has helped motivate her to continue the profession she loves.  

About the Contributor
Quinn Kearns, Design Editor