Cypress High’s “teacher of the year” is tops on the layoff list, reports the Orange County (California) Register.
English teacher Phil Hohensee retired in 2007 for 45 days, changing his mind when the principal begged him to come back. He counts as a new hire; without seniority, he’s almost certain to be laid off.
Hohensee, 56, is well-known among both the students and the faculty at the school for his engaging—and demanding—teaching style. He paces back and forth in front of the lectern, pointing at one student, then the next, drilling them on the day’s lesson.
“He’ll push you until you get it,” confirmed senior Chelsey Crofts, 18. She had him for two classes when she was a freshman and “he was my favorite teacher right off the bat. I was sure I was going to learn a lot from him.”
And the students do. Principal Ben Carpenter said Hohensee’s students’ standardized test scores are consistently some of the highest at theaward-winning school.
“The guy is just a phenomenal teacher,” Carpenter said. “He teaches from bell to bell” and then some; Hohensee has held Saturday classes on his own time to make sure his students know the material. “And the kids love him,” Carpenter continued. “They’re in his room at lunch, they’re in there after school.”
After polling student, the school’s Parent-Teacher-Student Association gave the Teacher of the Year award to Hohensee.
A Marine veteran, Hohensee also serves as a Baptist minister.