Ms. Natalie Priester has taught Academic English 1 & 2 at Pinacate Middle School in Perris Union High School District for five years. Prior to relocating, she taught English 9 and 10, Yearbook, and leadership for ten years at San Pasqual Academy, a residential high school for foster youth which is part of the San Diego County Office of Education’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools. Ms. Priester holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Mount St. Mary’s University, a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology from Ashford University, and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership with an Emphasis in Technology from San Diego State University. She holds California teaching credentials in English and Multiple Subjects (CLAD) and has an Administrative Services Certificate of Eligibility. Her classroom is an innovative learning environment that includes daily proactive restorative circles, play, and a combination of station-rotation blended learning and project-based learning.
Over her career, Ms. Priester has grown from an innovative site leader to a regional leader with the title of Google for Education Certified Innovator. As an English teacher at San Pasqual Academy, Ms. Priester coached colleagues as an Induction Support Provider and was an early adopter of various programs, including academic language curriculum, technology integration, and restorative practices. Additionally, she worked closely with members of multiple partner agencies as part of the Building Effective Schools Together Committee to create school-wide behavior expectations and consequences. The committee collected and analyzed data to inform our efforts, including designing professional development for the school staff based on current needs. At the district level, Ms. Priester played an integral part in the Academic Language Committee’s development of a year-long curriculum; she increased accessibility through online documents and cloud-based storage. Ms. Preister also helped train district teachers during the rollout by modeling lessons and providing technical assistance. In her current district, Perris Union High School District, Ms. Priester leads professional development about station-rotation blended learning.
Ms. Priester’s leadership efforts extended to influence teachers from Southern California to Alaska. She has presented to hundreds of educators at Computer Using Educators National Spring Conference, EdTechTeam Summits Featuring Google for Education, CUE Rockstar Camps and Black Labels, Riverside County Office of Education Google Educator Summer Camps, and multiple EdCamps. Her presentation topics include: station-rotation blended learning, standards-based grading, digital reader’s notebooks, the writing process using Google tools, restorative practices, social media in education, and social-emotional learning using classroom play. She is an engaging presenter and provides follow-up support through social media and direct correspondence.
Ms. Priester was raised in East County San Diego. She lived at an auto racetrack when she was little and then grew up on a dirt road in Lake Morena, near the US-Mexico border. Both of her parents are retired teachers. After college, she taught at her alma mater, Mountain Empire Jr./Sr. High School, where she coached high school volleyball, basketball, and softball. She also worked at a Girl Scout summer camp for ten years and was a Girl Scout leader.
She now lives with fellow Pinacate Middle School teacher, Nishantha Unantenne, in Lake Elsinore. They have a three-year-old daughter, a one-year-old son, four dogs, two cats, an aquarium of saltwater fish, a pond of guppies, and a garden. Ms. Priester enjoys sharing about teacher mom life on YouTube and Instagram, reading, hiking, cooking, practicing yoga, gardening and of course spending as much time as possible playing with kids. She is also a co-founder of Teacher Mama Collective.