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Alyssa Neilson has been teaching English and journalism at Half Moon Bay High School since 2011. In her time at HMBHS, she has gained a reputation for her creativity in the classroom, her high academic rigor, and her belief that all students can succeed.
Neilson discovered her passion for teaching after embarking on a backpacking trip through Central and South America after college, where she ended up teaching English for the first time. She loved that she was able to make a positive impact on her students’ lives by helping them reach goals and become stronger communicators. Neilson found teaching both challenging and invigorating, and says the best part about it is how unique each individual student is. She learns from them every day and celebrates the diversity in her classroom.
Neilson believes that helping her students find their strengths and become more confident in themselves is “what it is all about.” She noticed that students did not have a place to voice their opinions and use their writing skills for a purpose, thus "The Paw Print" was born. This small student news website has since grown into a monthly newspaper that is valued by the student body. Neilson also loves finding exciting ways to connect literature to everyday life. She encourages her students to question, think critically, and above all, enjoy learning. She uses technology, debate, and unconventional projects to allow her students to explore their individual passions.
Neilson, a Los Angeles native, went to UCSB for her Bachelor's degree in English. She earned her teaching credential and Master's degree from Pepperdine University. She spends her free time surfing, mountain biking, and traveling.