Ching named new charter, international director at Minarets

ttuell@sierrastar.comJuly 23, 2013 

After a round of interviews competing with multiple applicants, Minarets High School U.S. and World History teacher Daniel Ching has been named the new Director of Charter & International Programs at Minarets.

"We are still early on in our school's journey, and I am thrilled to be here as our school continues to expand in so many ways," Ching said. "I feel blessed to be stepping into a position that enables me to work hand in hand with a staff that is motivated to create classrooms that are transforming education. Jon Corippo and (Principal) Mike Niehoff have worked great as a team in creating a culture at Minarets that is student centered and relevant to the 21st century. "

The director position became vacant when Corippo accepted a position earlier this summer at the Mariposa County Office of Education as director of curriculum and instruction, as well as the technology director for the county. The international program is new to Minarets, but it's been approved for a partnership with schools in China.

"This will be a big step for him," said Chawanakee Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson. "The thing about Daniel, though, is everything he touches turns into gold. He's a Chawanakee product — he graduated from North Fork Elementary — and he's very well respected."

Nelson said Ching is not only respected by students, but has great relationships with everyone. On top of that, he also has a number of professional achievements including being named an Apple Distinguished Educator earlier this year.

Nelson said one of his goals as superintendent is to unify all Chawanakee schools, and that Ching is a major player in making all the district's schools connect and collaborate.

"We've always known he's an up-and-comer and this allows us to hold onto him longer," Nelson said. "I could see him sitting in my seat one day, so it's important to hold onto him locally."

Ching said he spent time talking with people about what they thought would make a new director, evaluating the schools needs, and speaking colleagues before applying for the position.

"It was very important for me to have the support of the teachers at Minarets, because a huge part of my job is working together with them to maintain and extend the success of our classrooms," Ching said.

He also spoke with Nelson and Niehoff about their own expectations. Like Nelson, Niehoff said Ching was selected for the position based on the fact that, as a teacher, he has gained the trust and respect of all his colleagues.

"Daniel has tremendous credibility on our campus and in our community, and he gets our mission on all levels," Ching said. "We not only want all students to succeed, but to truly gain experiences that will transform their opportunities in the future. He is a passionate and patient teacher who cares about all students succeeding. Minarets and our entire community are very fortunate to have him help lead our programs. He will continue to bring positive and new ideas to our campus, district and community."

Ching says he feels "truly blessed" to have been selected as the new director where he his able to work with a staff that is passionate about learning and teaching.

"My plans are to continue and expand the success we have had at Minarets," Ching said. "We are doing so many incredible things at our school, but we are still very new. I plan to continue to motivate our teachers to be leaders in the education world."

Ching will no longer teach World and U.S. History, but, on top of his director duties, he will also teach a new class called Native American Studies.

"We have been creating this class for a couple of years, and I am so pumped to get to teach it," Ching said.

He will also help organize and run the Veterans Day History Project, work on curriculum with teachers, implement Minarets' new freshman iPad program and, as mentioned earlier, direct the the international program.

Ching said Minarets hopes to have about 20 Chinese students attend Minarets this fall.

"There are big plans for our future partnership, which could include sending (Minarets) students to China to study," Ching said. "There are some big opportunities that can result from this, and we believe that it will provide many advantages for our students and staff."

"We've always known he's an up-and-comer."

— Superintendent Bob Nelson

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