Ghiassy gives life to Dougherty as new biology teacher

S.H. and Kavin Kumaravel

Passionate about her role as a mother and an educator, Mrs. Elizabeth Ghiassy strives to bring out the best in her students through her new job as a biology teacher. It’s not uncommon to see a crowd of students awaiting her patient assistance during lunch. The ease and confidence with which she handles her students makes it hard to tell that it is her first year in a traditional school and classroom setting.
Before she was a teacher, Ghiassy attended Saint Elizabeth High School in Oakland. She graduated from Cal State East Bay and jumped into the field of education.
However, her first job wasn’t in a traditional classroom setting. Ghiassy kicked off her teaching career as a health educator at a non-profit medical organization, where she taught kids, teenagers and adults. She spent eight years working the job before her life took a turn, causing her to shift gears.
“When I had my kids, I took a break [from my job],” Ghiassy stated. “When I was ready to come back to work, I knew that I wanted to still do something related to education, but I also didn’t want to be away from home so much.”
Ghiassy decided teaching at Dougherty was the perfect middle ground between home and work, allowing her to be a mother while doing a job she loved. Although this is her first year as a biology teacher, she’s not exactly new to Dougherty.
In the three years prior to this school year, Ghiassy worked on the campus as a paraeducator. She claims her diverse background in teaching has helped her adjust her viewpoint on learning and adjust to suit every child’s needs.
“Having the experience of working in special education gives me a different perspective,” she explained. “It exposed me to different types of learning.”
She views this decision to start teaching in special education as a defining moment in her career.
“When I joined Dougherty Valley High with special education, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go into teaching, but once I was here in this environment, at this school, I was 100 percent sure that that was where I was going.”
Ghiassy’s interactions with new parts of the student population has only served to magnify her love for Dougherty’s atmosphere.
“All my classes are great, my students are really nice and respectful. Their enthusiasm drives me.”
She has certainly had to adapt to her new students, but not necessarily in the way one might expect. If anything, it has become easier to teach, seeing as she now only has to focus on teaching one age group.
From her students, Ghiassy only asks for a few things.
“Be respectful. That’s what I said on the first day and that’s what I say everyday,” Ghiassy said with a smile. “I want students to get excited about science. And I am here to help my students in anyway that I can. They just have to ask.”
When she’s not in the classroom, Ghiassy enjoys taking walks, exploring the outdoors and reading. But above all, her family is most important to her and she enjoys any time she has to spend with them.
When asked what she hopes to accomplish at Dougherty Valley, the smile on her face indicated that Dougherty itself was her goal.
She chimed, “I’m happy where I am.”