EAST WHITTIER – Mylinh Nguyen, a video production teacher at Hillview and Granada middle schools, was popping corn for a student film awards ceremony in her classroom when she heard there was an all-faculty meeting in the teachers’ lounge.

Conveniently, Nguyen, 34, of Buena Park, was headed over there to use the lounge’s microwave and expected a veteran teacher or administrator to announce their retirement. Instead, a district administrator floored her when he announced that Nguyen was named East Whittier City School District’s 2015-16 Teacher of the Year.

On Sept. 16, Nguyen represented the District at the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s Teachers of the Year conference, which is attended by the region’s top educators.

“I was excited to represent East Whittier,” Nguyen said. “All children can learn no matter what their strengths and weaknesses are. When students are showing growth toward their goals and are meeting their goals, to me that shows they are learning.”

Nguyen has been praised for increasing hands-on opportunities for students to explore their passions in video production. Her class of students — the Husky TV crew — is made up of students from various grades who produce a weekly news broadcast shown to the entire campus during homeroom.

In 2015-16, the Husky TV crew devoted weeks to crafting a public service announcement on cyberbullying with data on bullying and graphic designs. The PSA received outstanding feedback and was circulated to other schools in the District for use.

Nguyen’s students went on to receive an award from the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s Digital Voice Awards Contest.

“Education is a challenging profession,” Nguyen wrote in her application to be LA County’s Teacher of the Year. “However, it is also a very rewarding one since teachers play an instrumental role in determining if students enjoy education. As an educator, my goal is to give my students the appropriate skills to prepare them for jobs in industries that currently do not exist.”

Nguyen grew up in Fullerton and graduated from Sunny Hills High School. She attended UC Riverside, earning a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies in 2004 and a master’s degree in education in 2005.

She joined Jurupa Unified School District as an elementary school teacher in 2005. At East Whittier, she has taught kindergarten to second grade, and sixth to eighth grade.

After deciding to continue her education, she obtained a second advanced degree, a master’s of science in educational leadership from Cal State Fullerton in 2010.

As a child of Vietnamese refugee parents, Nguyen has firsthand experience of the obstacles faced by students from immigrant and working-class backgrounds. Nguyen said her family instilled in her the value of education and persistence. As an educator, she encourages students to strive for those same principles.


EWCSDToY1: Mylinh Nguyen, a video production teacher, was awarded East Whittier City School District’s 2015-16 Teacher of the Year.

EWCSDToY2: Nguyen provides her students with hands-on opportunities to develop their skills in video production.

EWCSDToY3: Nguyen leads her students—the Husky TV crew—as they produce a weekly news broadcast, one of which received an award from LA County Office of Education’s Digital Voice Awards Contest.