Student Nomination Story

Ben is a great teacher. He is always proactive and reaching out to us. He keeps us informed of what is going on. He lets us know how Ava is doing. He checks in when Ava misses a class. He is always enthusiastic and always with a smile. I recommend him for teacher of the year. He is the best teacher Ava has ever had.

Ava Joseph

So, I am not a student but a wife to Mr. Ben. I am known as Mrs. Ben. Lokrantz is a Special Education Center, one of very few, with extremely severe multiple disability students. Ben has worked at Lokrantz a total of 9 years. He began as an aide/paraprofessional (which I have just become for the first time ever) at Lokrantz. Everywhere we go people know him! It doesn't matter where, but we run into students, parents and/or teachers. My sister always meets random people that know him or his name. Ask anyone that knows him, he's the hardest worker around and puts his kids and parents above all. He genuinely cares about these kids souls and believes there is so much more going on inside them than we know. I have witnessed the eyes changing in a child whenever he is around, smiles and body movements...they react and it is wonderful. He worked with one student in particular, Teal Philips, whom he is still in contact with even though he has not been her teacher for years. She has a picture of him by her bedside. While working with her, he watched her grow and learn new technology so she can communicate. He is a 3rd year teacher and still attends his District Internship program with LAUSD, and it's a long process! He started a YouTube channel featuring different recipes, such as gnocchi, pasta and bread. Ben lived in Rome, Italy and is fluent in Italian. This comes in handy when communicating with non English speaking parents, and the school does not have a set translator. He very much believes in engaging and having fun, especially with music. Ben plays ukulele and will sometimes collaborate with CSUN music department, which came to the school once a week before the pandemic. This is an amazing school and Ben is an even more amazing teacher. I know I am biased because I am his wife, but I have watched his every step to get to this level at 42 years old. I could go on and on, no really. There are so many amazing stories and experiences I could share with you. It is seriously endless, the amount of selfless and genuine care, thirst for knowledge and love for his students.

Alicia Schulz

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