FONTANA, CA – Southridge Tech Middle School seventh-grade math teacher Linh Nguyen-Carlyle draws upon her own life experiences and challenges to connect with her students, making an impact in the classroom that has earned her recognition as the California League of Educators (CLE) Region 10 Educator of the Year Runner-Up.
Nguyen-Carlyle arrived in Southern California as a young Vietnamese immigrant with few English language skills. As she struggled to find her footing in school, a high school math teacher recommended she enroll in an honors class, which set her on an educational journey that led to her becoming a first-generation college-goer.
Now in her ninth year at Southridge Tech, Nguyen-Carlyle uses her background as an English learner to help motivate and challenge her students. In all her lessons, she strives to establish empathy with her students and assure them there is nothing standing in the way of attaining their goals and excelling academically.
As a result, Nguyen-Carlyle was one of 10 CLE finalists from across the Riverside, Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino counties honored at the Region 10 awards ceremony on Dec. 11, 2023, at the Riverside Mariott.
“I share this recognition with my talented and passionate Southridge Tech colleagues,” Nguyen-Carlyle said. “I cannot believe I am here with so many teachers who share my passion for education. The diversity of administrators, staff, teachers and students is what makes our school unique.”
Southridge Tech Principal Amber Knight nominated Nguyen-Carlyle for the prestigious award, citing her ability to connect with and challenge her students while pushing them to do their best. It has helped produce major gains in California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) math assessments, as the percentage of Southridge Tech seventh graders meeting or exceeding expectations in math improved by more than 12 percentage points from 2018-19 to 2021-22.
“Linh has this amazing passion and dedication that just shines through, and you can tell students really respond to her methods,” Knight said. “Her humility, love for teaching and commitment to learning make her stand out. She is more than just a teacher – she is a vital part of our school.”
Nguyen-Carlyle decided to become an educator after serving as a tutor for the America Reads program while attending the University of San Francisco. She saw a reflection of herself as a young English learner in her students, and remembered what her parents told her when they first came to America – education provides a better life.
“I come from a poor, refugee family. As a young child, I would go to school for a couple of hours then go to work with my parents in the field,” Nguyen-Carlyle said. “I struggled a lot at school because of the language barrier. During those moments, my teachers never gave up on me and believed in me. I use these stories to help my students today. I use my background to inspire the students I serve.”
One student Nguyen-Carlyle successfully challenged was Amitoj Lobana, who graduated from Henry J. Kaiser High School in 2022 as a 16-year-old with a full-ride scholarship to attend MIT. Before graduating, Lobana returned to Nguyen-Carlyle’s class to give an inspirational speech to her students, letting them know what Nguyen-Carlyle had to teach them was priceless.
“Linh Nguyen-Carlyle is an outstanding teacher with such an inspirational story, and is well-deserving of this honor,” Superintendent Miki R. Inbody said. “Her ability to connect with her students is a powerful teaching tool that both engages and motivates them to become lifelong learners and achieve at the highest levels.”
FUSD_CLE1: Southridge Tech Middle School seventh-grade math teacher Linh Carlyle-Nguyen (right) was named the California League of Educators (CLE) Region 10 Educator of the Year Runner-Up. Carlyle-Nguyen was honored at the CLE Region 10 awards ceremony, where she was joined by Fontana Unified School District Superintendent Miki R. Inbody (left).
FUSD_CLE2: Linh Carlyle-Nguyen, right, draws upon her own life experiences and challenges to connect with her seventh-grade students at Southridge Tech Middle School. She was named the California League of Educators (CLE) Region 10 Educator of the Year Runner-Up for her impact in the classroom.