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The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

FROM RAIDER TO LANCER: Despite graduating from Sonora, social science instructor hired to teach 3 classes in 2022 embraces SH culture

Katie Leem
Social science teacher Kristin Kosareff checks on her students’ work in her fourth period Advanced Placement Human Geography class on Tuesday, May 14.

The Accolade aims to produce stories about staff hired to teach full time; however, in the case of social science teacher Kristin Kosareff, we failed to take notice of her since she was working here part time in the 2022-2023 school year and transitioned to full time this school year. We regret the oversight and have decided to post the story below instead of waiting until the next school year to feature the instructor.

Kristin Kosareff’s passion toward becoming an educator stems from her experience in one of her history classes at her high school alma mater.

Throughout her years attending Sonora from 2011-2015, Kosareff said she gained inspiration from being in Jennifer Tushla-Sanchez’s Advanced Placement United States History [APUSH] class.

“She wasn’t afraid to be herself and let her personality shine in a way that made the class more interesting,” said the Raider alumna, who ended up working part-time at Sunny Hills High School in the 2022-2023 school year before accepting a full-time position last semester.

She then took her newfound passion to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she majored in history and minored in English. Kosareff said she started working with students upon graduating from high school, tutoring in 2015 at Tutorzone in Whittier and in 2016 at the Whittier Public Library.

“It was kind of hectic because you had to balance your college classes so you had to work a lot but honestly, it was fun,” the social science teacher said. “When I was tutoring, I was able to help people out, interact with them and meet new people all the time.”

After graduating in May 2019, Kosareff said she pursued her teaching credential at the same university. And before starting her student teaching experience, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Kosareff was able to get assigned to student teach at her alma mater, where she started in the fall semester of August 2020, five months after public schools throughout the state shut down in-person instruction because of the pandemic.

And just before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that students enrolled in public schools will remain learning from home.

“Nobody really knew what was going on, and nobody had even ever done it,” said Kosareff, recalling her experience using the Zoom platform to instruct her students. “I had awesome teachers that I worked with who helped out a lot, but all of us were kind of in the same boat; it was an adventure.”

Despite such challenges, she was able to obtain her teaching credential, and she found work in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District as a substitute teacher from 2020-2022.


Kosareff’s first exposure to Sunny Hills came in the 2022-2023 school year. She applied for and succeeded in obtaining part-time work here, teaching U.S. History fourth period and World History fifth and sixth periods.

It was then that she started getting used to the school’s vibe.

“I love how there’s that cultural aspect to it, and I also like how the classes have an emphasis on having quality education and have it be challenging,” Kosareff said. “I think it’s a great mix of both having quality academics and then all those awesome events for the students to participate in.”

After the end of the 2022-2023 school year, the social science department had a full-time position open because one of its instructors decided to retire. That allowed Kosareff to apply with the hopes of remaining on campus the following school year.

“They were really interested in wanting to know about me as a person and practices that I would implement in the classroom, so I could tell from the get-go that there was a good vibe,” she said.

Upon accepting the offer to teach one period of World History and four periods of AP Human Geography [APHUG], Kosareff said support from the administration and other faculty members have allowed for a smooth transition into working here full time.

“Everybody’s been very welcoming,” she said. “They’ve helped me out a lot with basically everything; finding out where things are and good strategies to use in the classroom.”

Principal Craig Weinreich had nothing but praise for what he has observed in Kosareff’s teaching style.

“Her ability to work with her students and create a positive atmosphere for them but also be able to challenge them to work hard has stood out to me,” Weinreich said. “She was also highly recommended by Sonora.”

Freshman Cameron Kim, a student in Kosareff’s fifth period APHUG class, said the instructor provides an enriching learning experience. 

“Her teaching style is super interactive and gets straight to the point,” Kim said. “She is very attentive to detail and does not neglect any piece of information.”

Freshman Kensington Van Hook also touts Kosareff’s personality..

I think she does a good job of keeping peace and a friendly work environment for us each day; she always listens to her students and would often have good and fun music playing in the background,” said Van Hook, who is in Kosareff’s sixth period APHUG class. “She connected with students and always left some room for enjoyment and fun while also providing space for us to work hard.”

Outside of the classroom, Kosareff is married and often enjoys camping, hiking and going off-roading.

As her first year teaching full time ends, the social science instructor has already set a goal for her second year.

“My goal for the new school year is to be able to continue developing the curriculum with my colleagues so that our students get the best experience,” Kosareff said.

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