Jude Binkley staff writer
Drew Stewart, a 20 year teaching veteran, joined the history department as a U.S history and economics teacher. Stewart spent the past 13 years teaching at Steele Canyon High School in East County, San Diego. At Steele Canyon, Stewart taught mostly 11th and 12th grade history, but also worked with other grades through advising ASB and a student government class.
“I loved it [San Diego], enjoyed it. I had lived there since college when I went down to UCSD for school,” Stewart said. “Pursuing marriage and to be closer to family and all of those types of things brought me closer to home, up here to the L.A. area.”
Stewart is familiar with the Los Angeles area; he grew up in Long Beach before moving to San Diego where he majored in political science at the University of California San Diego.
“I do feel like I know a lot of what LA is about, so I like the fact that I bring the perspective of not only other parts of the county, but other parts of the state with me,” Stewart said. “I do feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what the kids here go through, and quite frankly, kids are kids everywhere, even though communities are a little bit different. The young people I work with, it’s amazing how the faces are different but a lot of the things are the same.”
Stewart wanted to become a teacher because he had experience working with kids from teaching swim lessons and from being a camp counselor. Originally he had thought of pursuing a career in law, but he then became a substitute teacher.
“I was a political science major in college and it’s a very cool major that combines politics and history, both of which were the two things that interested me the most when I was in school. And so it was a natural fit for me to try to do my best to get kids to enjoy those subjects like I enjoyed them in high school,” Stewart said.
The move from San Diego, the place where he had lived since college, to Los Angeles was a difficult decision for Stewart.
“The transition in terms of moving a life that I had for 20 years has been different, even though it’s the same career, moving jobs and all of the unknown of a new place has been challenging,” Stewart said. “A lot of the skills transfer but the pace of a 50 minute period is significantly different and just getting to know the culture of the school, every school has a different culture and expectations, getting to know that has been interesting now that I have given tests in both my classes this week.”
Stewart has spent the first weeks of school getting used to the schedule and the new students he has met at Beverly.
“It was really interesting because even though I have been doing this for a long time, it really did almost feel like my first day of teaching. I’m used to a [90 minute] block schedule, it’s been very interesting coming to a 50 minute period, with more periods in the day,” Stewart said. “I came in with an open mind, and I have been amazed at the students and how hardworking they are and how respectful they are. And also, the staff has been very friendly and welcoming.”
Stewart hopes to become a part of the Beverly Hills community and he hopes that he can get his students excited about the curriculum he is teaching.
“I look forward to hopefully becoming a part of the fabric of Beverly Hills, as I tried to in my last place. I want to be part of the school community and I really hope I inspire kids to enjoy history.”