Business teacher Mrs. Alyssa Gonzalez brings industry experience


During Mrs. Alyssa Gonzalez’s fifth period Intro to Business class, students learn about the foundation of the business industry. Photo by Jessica Rose.

On her first visit to this campus, the school was new, and she was the same age as the students here. But she never attended as one. Now, with degrees from UC Davis and UC Berkeley, Mrs. Alyssa Gonzalez is back to teach.

“I grew up about an hour north of Sacramento in a little town called Williams. Both my parents were teachers — my dad was in woodworking, industrial arts and my mom was in business.  [There was] only high school in town, and there were 300 kids when I was there, [and about] 50 in my graduating class,” Gonzalez said.

Due to the smaller size of her high school, Gonzalez was able to explore a magnitude of extracurricular activities during her time there.

“I got to do so many different things. I got to be on the cheerleading squad and I was the [Future Business Leaders of America] state president my senior year, so I was traveling through the state meeting with different students. I got to do the ag program [agriculture], and FFA [Future Farmers of America], showing steers at fair, so I got to be really involved. [This] was my favorite part of high school. I didn’t have to pick one thing to love, I got to be involved with a lot of different things at school,” Gonzalez said.

Cheerleading became the leading cause of Gonzalez visiting the Whitney campus for the first time during her high school career.

“I actually came here for a cheer camp. The school had just opened up, brand new, and I could tell it was an amazing place. There was a lot of spirit, a lot of resources and a lot of opportunities for students,” Gonzalez said.

After high school, Gonzalez attended Berkeley for her undergraduate in media studies and communications.

“I did my graduate program for a teaching credential in agriculture and a Masters in education. And I just finished some coursework this summer I needed to for my business credential, so now I have the two [degrees], agriculture and business. [I went to] Davis for all my masters and teaching credential, and Berkeley [for my] undergraduate,” Gonzalez said.

Her credentials not only qualified her to work within the teaching field, but Gonzalez has also been able to work within the business industry.

“The reason I left education and went back to industry for a little while was because I met my husband and we didn’t know were we were gonna be settling; he was in the Bay Area at the time. While working in industry I really missed the opportunity to give back and share with young people. It wasn’t as exciting as teaching, where you get to share your passion with others,” Gonzalez said.

As the new business teacher, Gonzalez hopes recognize and emphasize the FBLA organization on campus.

“I was really into FBLA in high school and that is kind of what inspired me to get into business education. I wanted to the students to feel like they were a part of a community in that way. I really missed it when I wasn’t in the classroom and had to come back,” Gonzalez said.

She taught one year of business, accounting  and entrepreneurship classes in Natomas after college. Currently Gonzalez is focusing on creating a supportive and interactive classroom.

“I think definitely right now my big thing is building up my curriculum, especially with accounting; that’s a structured course so [I want to make] sure that all of my students feel supported as we move through the different lessons. I’m really excited about entrepreneurship; the second half of the year is going to be like a workspace for them to work on actually launching a business so it’ll be a lot more informal and they’ll have a lot more responsibility. For my classes that’s a big thing, but I like feeling like a community and getting to know all the new faces. I feel like I’m really offering the best to my students because I have never taught accounting before. The others I have, but this is the one I am really working on bringing resources to,” Gonzalez said.

In order to make the class more representative of the real world and allowing students to branch out beyond the classroom, Gonzalez has designed numerous classroom activities and projects.

“I am pulling in case studies to make students feel like if they got an internship in this field, they could actually bring some skills to the table. It’s supposed to be kind of  fun, kind of project-based, but as the same time it is an elective course so most of our classwork gets done in class. There isn’t a ton of homework in here because mainly we’re working on projects, we’re working together, we’re doing presentations and discussions. Accounting is probably the main one that if you needed more time to go back and review notes or something you would need some extra time outside of class,” Gonzalez said.

Another way Gonzalez plans to expose her students to actual accounting is through the use of Excel and Sheets. She’s trying to replicate what the real world looks since she has previous work experience within this field. The important part is that the class will eventually get to a place where they are making financial decisions that like CFO’s would be making for their companies. An added benefit of this class is having the opportunity to earn college credit via a test through Sierra College.

“The class is really nice and she helps us understand everything. She is also patient with us and makes sure we comprehend and remember all our notes,” Megan Ro said.

Students provide insight regarding their experience within Gonzalez’s class.

“I think she creates a positive environment and tries to encourage students to investigate, dig deeper, and look at things through the perspective of an accountant,” Mayar Amin said.

Beyond the classroom, Gonzalez enjoys a variety of outdoor activities with her animals.

“[I don’t have] kids, but [my husband and I] have two husky puppies and I have some horses. Eventually our goal is to move over here, because right now I actually live in Natomas so I drive over through Natomas, and get some property for my horses. My parents have now like eight [horses], so I usually ride with them and ride their horse but my goal is to bring at least one of them down here and boar them through the winter so I can ride them through the winter.  I do 50-100 mile trail rides on horses, my husband does them on foot. We also go to a lot of sporting events- we’re a big Giants fans,” Gonzalez said.

Her interests in business related activities both inside and outside the classroom, continue to motivate Gonzalez, as she hopes to increase awareness for accounting and FBLA.