Hwang recognized as Teacher of Year

DBHS engineering teacher has been a Brahma for 20 years.


Photo courtesy of DBHS.ORG

Johnny Hwang acknowledges his award in a speech at a staff luncheon.

Catherine Liu, Business Manager

Diamond Bar High School’s only engineering teacher, Johnny Hwang, was recognized as Teacher of the Year for 2018, in part for helping the school earn distinguished school status from Project Lead The Way, a group that promotes the STEM curriculum.

“I was just kind of shocked,” Hwang said. “I keep such a low profile on campus so and it also made me feel good just being appreciated by the other teachers on campus.”

Principal Reuben Jones presented Hwang with  the award at the Teacher Appreciation luncheon that was held on April 27 in the gym.

Teachers Becky Bevans, Michelle Hansen, and Stacy Tenace were the other finalists for this year’s award.

Hwang, who has been a Brahma for 20 years, started off his career on campus teaching chemistry and AP environmental science as well as all levels of biology. It’s only been in the past five years that Hwang took on teaching engineering, at the request of former DBHS principal Catherine Real.

“I kind of just in the last five years migrated to the engineering side,” Hwang said.

Hwang started the Introduction to Robotics class at DBHS because it grew out of his research he was doing for a masters of instructional technology. The engineering teacher ultimately took on the task because he enjoyed tinkering and rebuilding classic arcade games. He now teaches all of levels of PLTW engineering classes.

Hwang took two weeks of extensive training to be qualified to teach the class. As the PLTW teacher, Hwang assigns more hands-on work and projects for the students.

“It’s really rigorous so we use a lot of statistics, math and physics in our curriculum,” Hwang said. “It’s a really wide range of things just to spark some interest [in engineering] for kids.”

The class teaches 3D modeling as well as programming. Along with engineering, Hwang has also been acknowledged for his excellence in the science department and received Teacher of the Division a few years back.

“I feel like I work really hard for the students so it’s always good to be recognized,” Hwang said.