A glance into our English department!




Pilar Robles

What is one thing you have learned from your years at Wilson?

“I have learned the importance of school culture and how that has a positive impact on the students and their experience in high school.  I like how many students are involved with [creating a strong community on campus].”

What is a goal you have moving forward?

“As always, it is my goal every year to make sure I am providing the best learning environment for my students, a place of autonomy and trust.”

Who or what was your greatest inspiration to teach?

“I have always wanted to help people, so I chose a profession where I could help people and feel competent doing so. I think by empathizing with students and teenagers,  I can make a positive impact.”

Apple juice or orange juice?

“Orange juice, I love it and it is my daily morning drink.”

Who is your favorite athlete?

“Kobe Bryant. He is the epitome of mind over matter, effort, perseverance and taking what you want and deserve.”

Josipa Casey 

What is your year by year approach to teaching?

“I like to take every year and every day one day and one year at a time.”

What is something you do to better your teaching every year?

“I listen to Ms. Robles, read and keep up to date with my students.”

How do you inspire students to continue to do better each year?

“I hold my students to high expectations, but also provide the right tools for them to succeed in my class.”

What is your favorite TV show?

“Definitely Friends.”

Would you rather live in New York City or Paris?

“I would actually love to live in Maui.”


Lisa Leung

Did you have a teacher growing up who inspired you to be a teacher?

“I had an English teacher named Ms. Barrett who inspired me to become a teacher.”

Is there any other subject you would like to teach?


What is your definition of a successful life?

“A successful life to me is if I can assure that my family is happy and healthy.”

What is the best fast food place to eat?

“I try to stay away from fast food restaurants.”

How do you motivate yourself to continue to teach at your best?

“I do not motivate myself as much as I encourage my students.  My students are my motivation to succeed as a teacher.”


Mike Gomez

Was there ever a definitive moment in your life where you said “I need to be a teacher?’’

“In my last year of college, I realized that my college education would work well with a career in teaching.”

Why did you choose teaching English over any other subject?

“I love literature,  since our own emotions have a direct tie to literature and its correlations to life. There is nothing like it.”

Are there any moments in your teaching career that you would like to highlight?

“One of the great paybacks of being a teacher is seeing kids get accepted into their choice of college and see their overall successes.”

Favorite comfort food?

“Mashed potatoes for sure.”

What is the most exciting activity you’ve ever done?

“I backpacked with my friend through Southern-Mexico and visited the major Mayan sites.”


Mary-Louise Piner

What is the most rewarding part about being a teacher?

“I really like it when I feel like I have made a difference in a student’s life; for example, helping to get students in college is always rewarding.”

What is an obstacle you have had to overcome to be a successful teacher?

“I got my teaching credentials a long time ago, but proceeded to work as an editor for a magazine. After some time, I made my way back to teaching after I had my children.”

What is your greatest accomplishment to this point in your life?

“For me, it is living the American Dream and having a job, family and freedom.  That is something we should not take for granted.”

What’s your go-to weekend activity?

“I like to bake cakes and bread.”

Do you have a favorite musician or artist?

“I love Billy Joel; I have seen him live twice.”


Gino Barragan

What does being a teacher mean to you?

“Being a teacher to me means helping young people become better thinkers and more compassionate human beings.”

How would you like to influence your students?

“I want students to think for themselves and to continue to have empathy for others.”

What drew you into teaching English over any other subject?

“It is something I am passionate about and good at.”

Do you have a favorite song?

“I have a small child, so my favorite songs at the moment are toddler songs.”

What is the best topping for a pizza?

“The best toppings for pizza are jalapenos and pepperoni.”


Christina Rouw

What has been your defining/favorite moment so far as a teacher?

“When I began teaching International Baccalaureate literature our class was very small, so I began recruiting juniors to come to a meeting to discuss joining my class.  When over 100 students showed up to the meeting there was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that my hard work had paid off.”

What has been the most challenging moment of your teaching career?

“I did my master’s program at Cal State Fullerton while pregnant with my baby daughter.”

When was it apparent to you that teaching was going to be your job of choice?

“[During] my junior year at Rowland High School, I had a teacher named Mr. Gardner who was a role model to me and my inspiration to be a teacher.   My first year of teaching was at Rowland and he was my department chair.”

If there was one thing to tell any student struggling, what would it be?

“If you are struggling that means you are working hard and learning. If everything comes easy, you are not learning.”

What is your go-to vacation spot?

“Laguna Beach.”


Enid Santos 

Could you describe your personal teaching philosophy?

“I feel that every student is capable of succeeding academically, and I feel my role as a teacher is to give them the tools they need for maximum success and growth.”

What is your most trustworthy method for motivating a student?

“I like to highlight when students are doing well in the class, and when they are struggling, I make sure there is communication done to help them.”

What is the key to balancing personal life with work?

“It is having the best coworkers available. They are the most positive and encouraging people, and are the best at managing stressful situations.  I love working at Wilson because the individuals here are encouraging and supportive, making the school feel like a second home.”

What is your favorite type of coffee?

“A simple cappuccino is good for me.”

Are pineapples on pizza acceptable?

“Never that.”


Christopher Valentine

What is your most memorable moment during your teaching career?

“It is usually when I see all of my seniors graduate.”

How have you conquered all obstacles to this points?

“I think it is about being persistent. You must keep chipping away at all challenges with patience.”

How would you like to influence your students?

“I would like to set the example of perseverance over things you are scared of.”

Could you explain how to maintain a personal and professional life?

“You must achieve a balance of time for work and time to do the things you love.”

What is your favorite drink?

“Dr. Pepper.”


Monica Yep

What was your favorite subject growing up that was not English?

“Definitely biology, I was a biochem major at Cal State Fullerton for three years.”

How do you try to relate to your students?

“I like to connect articles and books we use to teach to relate to my students, and then bring it back to the core book. I have also begun using song lyrics and personal anecdotes to try to connect even more.”

How do you motivate your students to do their best always?

“I try to use real life situations such as college or work to convey how important the subject is.”

What is your favorite sandwich?

“I like a turkey sandwich on wheat.”

What is your favorite TV show or movie?

“I watch Bravo shows a lot, mostly The Real Housewives.  My favorite movie is Meet Me in St. Louis.”


Ember Arteaga

How has your experience at Wilson been through your years?

“It is always the students who make Wilson great, regardless of the year.  It is amazing how, no matter what generation, it is the teenagers who remain thirsty for knowledge. The only that has changed over the years is technology.”

Have you had a particular favorite event or rally at Wilson you would like to recall?

“I think the best time of the year is always Homecoming.”

What is your favorite hobby outside of school?

“I tend to my succulent garden, and am also a big Los Angeles sports fan, just not of hockey or the Clippers.”

Have you heard of TikTok? If so, what are your opinions on this social media platform?

“I have heard of Tik-Tok. It can be used for good or evil, but I think it is entertaining and mostly used for good.”

What is a past tradition you wish Wilson still had?

“I wish we still had Great Gatsby Day, [where students would dress up as characters from the book].”


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