COMPTON – Fresh from her Reed College graduation, Catherine Borek came to Dominguez High School in 1996 with the Teach for America program. She taught 9th grade English, loved it, and realized this was her home.
In 1999, Borek reestablished the long-defunct drama program. In Drama, Borek saw the creative potential in her students. Along with Karen Greene, she produced the play Our Town that year. The award-winning film: Our Town documents their trials and tribulations–and their students’ success.
In 2005, the Dominguez Drama Club won NEA’s SuAnne Big Crow Memorial Award at the Human and Civils Rights Awards.
A passionate life-long learner, Borek enrolled at CSULA to earn a masters in English Literature. She wrote her thesis on Charles Darwin and how he changed the literary imagination. What she learned in the program influenced her classroom teaching, bringing her students college-level rigor.
In her time at Dominguez, Borek and her students have completed the LA Marathon, collaborated with the LA Opera to perform mini-operas, made it to the Poetry Out Loud regionals, starred in a Keurig commercial, published a play with Pen in the Community, and started a rugby club.
Borek joined the AVID team at Dominguez and found a powerhouse of collaborators with whom to build a vision for the school’s progress.
“Pre-pandemic, a student said to me, ‘you taught my mom!’ Since then, this has happened over and over. Sometimes it’s ‘[you tought] my uncle,’ ‘ [you thought] my auntie,’ ‘[you tought] my dad,” Borek shared. One thing that is clear, she has demonstrated a 26-year commitment to her Dominguez family, and she continues to be a proud Don.
Borek and the other District Teacher of the Year nominees were celebrated at a reception honoring their outstanding contributions to the education of students and to their school communities.
“To be distinguished as Teacher of the Year is no minor designation in our District. it says that you have made an impact in the lives of both students and your colleagues. It means that you have contributed significantly toward our District elevating and opening doors to opportunities for our students,” said President Micah Ali.
“I am grateful for Ms. Borek’s contributions and commitment to our students. It is so fitting that our District’s Teacher of the Year has brought innovation and excellence through arts programming, as we are a district that recognizes the value that the arts bring to students,” said Superintendent Darin Brawley.
Click below to view a compilation video of Teacher of the Year Nominees. We congratulate them all.