Ms. Jacqueline Joseph Closes Her Teaching Chapter


Ms. Jacqueline Joseph in her school IDs and yearbook photos from the first high school she taught at, Palmdale in California (left), the second from Eldorado (top right), and her last from Sierra Vista (bottom right).

Ella Reber, Staff Reporter

After 27 years of teaching, Ms. Jacqueline Joseph, an English teacher at Sierra Vista High School, announced her retirement earlier in the year. Ms. Joseph decided that the 2022-2023 school year will conclude her teaching career. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Ms. Joseph moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2002. Ms. Joseph began her career in positions connected to education such as for a company who sold school accident insurance to students, and also in a business office for a community college completing payroll. Ms. Joseph decided to pursue her second career in teaching in 1995. For the first six years of her career, Ms. Joseph worked in California at Palmdale High School; later, she taught for an additional six years at both Eldorado High School and Foothill High School. Ms. Joseph finally settled down at Sierra Vista for her final nine years of teaching.

Ms. Joseph taught grades 9th through 12th, both regular and honors English. However, 10th-grade honors were her favorite grade to teach, explaining, “I really enjoyed teaching English 10 honors, especially when I was at Foothill HS, as my teaching partner and I had a great connection and we had several amazing years with English 10 Honors.”

Throughout her teaching career, she bonded with both coworkers and students, building strong collegial relationships and lasting friendships. Ms. Joseph’s best friend from down the hall, Ms. Mills, commented on her news about retiring, saying, “I am very excited for her, but I am very sad she won’t be here next year. We have taught together for nine years at Sierra Vista High School and five years at Foothill High School. She is an incredible teacher and makes other teachers better by just being around her and her influence.” Sierra Vista High School’s former student and current English and Mythology teacher, Ms. Razel Balon, enjoyed having Ms. Joseph as a teacher and also enjoyed having her as a colleague during Ms. Joseph’s final year.  Ms. Joseph taught Ms. Balon during her 2014-2015 sophomore year and her senior year 2016-2017 and eventually worked together for the 2022-2023 school year.  Ms. Balon mentioned, “Ms. Joseph is one of the reasons I became an English teacher. I am really sad we won’t be working together next year, but I am happy that I was able to work with the person that inspired me to become a teacher, at the beginning of my career.”

Ms. Joseph reminisces on the fond memories and moments she experienced over her past 27 years of teaching. Ms. Joseph mentions, “I had a junior class at El Dorado who connected with me to the point that at the end of the school year, they framed a picture of the whole class, all signed it and presented it to me. Very rewarding!” adding,  “Not a favorite year, but a memorable one is my first year at CCSD. It was a few months after school started and I had an episode with my eye during 1st period. I thought I was having a stroke or something, freaked out, and they called an ambulance to take me to a local hospital.  It turned out I was fine, but I felt supported and cared for in my new teaching environment, as the principal followed the ambulance to the hospital to make sure I was okay and did not leave until my sister arrived to take me home.” Drawing upon her funniest moment, she reminisced, “It was actually not so funny at the time, but I was holding a door open for an AP who was bringing a student who was involved in a fight to the office.  She got away from him by biting his arm and barrelled into me knocking me on my rear end!”

Many teachers taught through the Covid-19 Pandemic, and Ms. Joseph shared her experience during that time, she recounts, “Oh, the pandemic. Although it was an overall very frustrating experience, once I found a groove, I enjoyed being at home with all the conveniences.  I enjoyed not hearing bells and not experiencing school fights. It was very disappointing, though, at the lack of participation and interest in learning that took place.”

Retirement is both an honor and a heart-wrenching experience, Ms. Joseph mentions, “Retirement is something I have been threatening to do for the last five years. My feelings are mixed. I will truly miss my colleagues and the camaraderie I have experienced. I will also miss the students. Well, most of them (hehe).  I chose teaching as a second career because I actually like teenagers. I kept teaching for the same reason. It brought me joy when I was able to really connect with a student or when a student came back to visit me to share their after-high school experience. Not many careers afford the opportunity to affect the lives of rising stars. That is something that will leave a little empty space in my heart…”

The Sierra Vista family wishes Ms. Joseph a blissful retirement and thanks her for all of her hard work and dedication.