Mr. Michael Ardito transitions from temporary to permanent teacher in the math department


Decorating his classroom, Mr. Michael Ardito ties in an “Inside Out” theme to help showcase some of math’s concepts as “core memories.” Ardito said decorating F6 was a unique experience, as it marked the shift from his being a long-term substitute to a permanent teacher. Photo by Racxel Domingo.

Growing up in Hesperia, a mid-sized city in the Mojave desert, Mr. Michael Ardito juggled his time as a three-sport athlete and young math lover. Today, he combines his interest – Ardito has been part of the campus coaching team for the past four years, while the 2022-23 year is his first as a full-time teacher.

“[At] Sultana High School . . . math was one of my better subjects – I felt good about it. It was one of my favorites because once you know the rules, you can answer any question,” Ardito said.

He has coached campus wrestling and football since 2018, along with leading little league baseball in the greater Rocklin community.

“[I] wanted to be at Whitney because this is where I coach. I also have a wife and two kids, and Rocklin is where we reside. It’s cool because I get to give back to the community that I live in,” Ardito said.

After moving frequently, Ardito moved to Rocklin and took a teaching position in an attempt to settle down with his family.

“I was in the U.S. Air Force for 11 years. Teaching gave me the ability to have a stable footing because the military is full of deployment and moving. It allowed me to get out of that scene and get more of a footing and a community,” Ardito said.

After retiring from the military, Ardito received both his master’s in teaching and teaching credential from William Jessup University. He completed the 600 hours of student teaching time required by California Law at Whitney during the fall semester of the 2021-22 school year before receiving the opportunity to stay on temporarily.

“Right at the end of my student teaching, some positions opened up. They needed a long term to fill for Mr. [Emilio] Gasca, who was teaching math at the time and then switched over to computer science,” Ardito said. “So, I took over his classes as a long-term sub and was then able to pick up some more classes; once the spring semester began, I was able to move to a temporary position.”

Although Ardito says he was happy to take on a variety of long-term substitute classes, he faced some unexpected logistical challenges.

“Last year, I was in four different classrooms. It was kind of hard – I was walking around, trying to make the five-minute bell just like everyone else,” Ardito said.

In spite of these difficulties, he received positive feedback. Alexandra Loudaros first met Ardito while he completed his training hours under Mr. Scott Seffens, who was Loudaros’ Integrated I teacher during the fall semester.

“When I first met Mr. Ardito, I could definitely tell he had been in the military. He was very organized, put together, and ready to go,” Loudaros said.

Shortly after a schedule change in the spring, Loudaros moved to Mr. Jeffrey Spielman’s class. After Mr. Speilman left the school, Loudaros’s class became one of the four filled by Ardito.

“Even though I was familiar with him, it initially felt kind of strange to have a teacher change so shortly into the new semester. I was also kind of nervous knowing that he was a first-year teacher. Once he started teaching though, I realized he had everything under control and I felt really good. He had us on a great, tight schedule and I was like ‘OK – he’s got this!’” Loudaros said.

Loudaros said Ardito’s structured lesson plans and clear confidence helped her build trust in him.

“The math warm-ups are my biggest memory of his teaching. He gave us the first few minutes of class time to figure out some of the problems with our table members. It was really helpful to work through the concepts on my own and not just have him tell me the answers,” Loudaros said.

Ardito has tried to continue this structured rhythm in his full-time classes, which include Integrated I and II. Similarly, he has worked to establish his new identity as a full-time rather than a temporary educator.

“This year, now that I’ve got my own classroom, I’m trying to decorate it. It’s a lot of work, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job – I went with an ‘Inside Out’ theme to show some of math’s core memories [and concepts],” Ardito said.

Outside of the classroom, Ardito will continue in his role as a coach for both the men’s wrestling and football teams. Additionally, he will be stepping into new advisory positions as a long-term member of staff. 

“I am the sophomore advisor. I just took the role maybe two weeks ago, right before classes started. I’ve got a pretty full load this year,” Ardito said.

Although the year will be a busy one for him, Ardito says he feels supported by the other teachers in the math department, especially after having worked with many of them last year during his temporary position.

He said, “The whole math department has been a mentor to me. Mr. Seffens was my master teacher for student teaching, so I’ve definitely taken a lot from him. I still ask him some questions. But I also feel that I can ask everyone in the department for their input, and they’re more than willing to help me out.”