By Pam Durkee, Math/Science
It’s early May and the York campus looks like it’s been invaded by a small band of Ninja warriors. No…. it’s actually Mrs. Trachsel’s Calculus AB class, each wearing a headband with an individually chosen Japanese name written in authentic Japanese hiragana. Mrs. Trachsel has spent a year equipping them with the tools they need to be successful on the upcoming AP exam, and now her final task is to give each one that last tangible boost of confidence in a way that is uniquely June Trachsel.
When you first meet her, it’s easy to see why she is a favorite among the York students. Underlying her kind, soft-spoken persona is a gifted educator who is passionate about cultivating a curiosity about mathematics, whether real or imaginary. She is always challenging her students with interesting, applicable math problems, and believes in a more interactive approach to teaching. Can you imagine using calculus to determine the volume of odd shaped serving bowls? Well, her students can! When you walk into her classroom, you will see counters and walls covered with beautiful projects like origami polyhedra or calculus volumes using cross sections that her students have produced as she provides them with the experiences that will encourage them to love math.
June Trachsel grew up in Santa Maria, California, and credits a special high school math teacher as her inspiration for entering the teaching profession. She earned both her B.S. in mathematics and her teaching credential at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After student teaching at Lompoc High, she came to York in 1989 as a sabbatical replacement, and has been here ever since. She has taught every math course in the York curriculum except Calculus BC, and has even taught eight grade science. She has also served in many roles within the York community, including Math/Science Department Chair, Head of Student Council, Work Jobs Coordinator, member of the Curriculum Committee and Admission Committee, and Coordinator for Mathletics, just to name a few. And when her daughter, Corinne, joined the York student body in 2012, she took on a new role as a York parent.
Outside of school, one of June’s special passions is yoga—she even put together a dedicated room in her home just for her yoga activities. But what’s really intriguing is the connection that June makes between math and yoga—she embraces the tradition and values that come from the rich history of each one, while at the same time, celebrating the ways that makes them so relevant and useful in today’s world. And just as she shares her love of mathematics with each of her students, she also shares her zeal for yoga, and many students look forward to the yoga Health & Fitness class that she teaches on a regular basis.
Since June and I are both women of Asian heritage teaching in the math department at York, we are often mistaken for each other. I can think of no greater compliment than being mistaken for June Trachsel!