Newcomers at Walnut
Olivia Ko, Chinese teacher
Ms. Olivia Ko is currently teaching her tenth year of Chinese on all levels, and is responsible for all the Chinese classes’ curriculum. Aside from Chinese, she has previously taught a wide range of subjects, including World History, Algebra, AP Economics and Advertising at University of Southern California Performing Arts Magnet School.
“I have quite a few [former] students [who] double major in Chinese, so I know I succeeded, and [Chinese] is going to be their lifelong tool. [Teaching] feels like I’m not coming here to work, but I’m coming here to have a life and at the same time to make some money. I enjoy what I am doing, [and] I think that is really good,” Ko said.
Stephanie Lui, Education specialist
Having graduated from Walnut High School, Ms. Stephanie Lui returns to teach language, math concepts and directed studies classes to special education students. She previously taught at West Covina High School and Evergreen Elementary School. Initially wanting to specialize in speech therapy, Lui was able to discover special education.
“I wanted to specifically teach special education because I’ve always wanted to do something where I was able to help people. I just really like the idea of kind of rooting for the underdogs and being the advocate for these students because our population is small compared to the general education students. Being there for them and pushing them so they succeed [has] been amazing,” Lui said.
Hank Sprinkle, Social science teacher
Mr. Hank Sprinkle has been teaching World History, Geography, American History, AP World History, government and economics for 22 years. He teaches his students the relationship between the past and present to show students how history impacts their lives. In addition to teaching history, Sprinkle also works as the head baseball coach.
“I always try to make history a story, and I think by making it a story it’s easier for us to understand,” Sprinkle said. “I started coaching at the high school level, and I really enjoyed it. I thought to myself the best thing to do is be a high school teacher, so I got my credential and it made me realize that that’s really what I like doing, teaching kids and coaching.”
Complied by Edward Garcia, Jacob Khuu and Joy Wang
Photos by Jessie Dixon and Erin Tan