Beloved teachers at NPHS retire

While the end of the school year brings a much needed and deserved break, it also marks the departure of two incredible teachers here at Newbury Park High School. Coreen Pefley, a teacher specialized in moderate special needs, and Anne Alvarez, who specialized in moderate to severe special needs, will both be retiring after over 40 years of teaching.
If you have been on Newbury Park High School’s campus before, you have probably heard the name Mrs. Alvarez. Anne Alvarez is an outstanding teacher and devoted her time to the special education department, heading our LEAP program. She has made a lasting impact on so many people, including teachers, students and administrators. Her fellow teacher and close friend Richard Bradley, a social studies teacher, reminisced on the significant outpour she devoted to NP. “She teaches moderate to severe special ed, and then she is the key club advisor. She’s the National Honors Society advisor. She works at all the athletic events. I mean she is Wonder Woman,” said Richard Bradley.

In her time at NP, Alvarez worked tirelessly to establish and uphold both the special education activities and clubs she fostered. She also planned and organized the Special Olympics and many other events. A colleague and friend of Alvarez, Samantha Stewart and special education instructor, finds that Alvarez’s contributions allowed for inclusion across campus. “Mrs. Alvarez is like the keystone to our inclusion. I think here at Newbury that she, as a special education teacher, was able to see how to draw in the general education students into her classroom through NHS and Key Club,” Stewart said. While Alvarez will no longer be organizing the events, she set the foundation for years to come.

Alvarez will be leaving a strong legacy that allows for inclusion at Newbury Park High School. Her work across campus has benefited students in many ways and has given students more opportunities. She has formed connections with many students and teachers that will continue to serve them long into the future. “The way I see it, [Alvarez] represents everything that is good in this world. She is really an angel who walks among us on this earth and that’s how I’ve always seen her. She reaches a broader demographic of our student body than anybody could,” Bradley said.

Coreen Pefley is a current special education teacher here on campus. She was inspired to become a teacher from previous educators and eventually found her passion in special education. “I had really good teachers when I was a kid and when I ever got into a hard spot, I always remembered those teachers who helped. That made me think that, gee, I could maybe do that for other people,” Pefley said.

While she finished her last year teaching English at NPHS, she expresses interest in continuing sharing her wisdom and experience throughout her retirement. “I would like to start working at a university and help young teachers because I believe any teacher can benefit from knowing how to teach different modalities,” Pefley said.

Pefley is known among students for being a kind and supportive teacher. She encourages her students to do their best and teaches lessons that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. “The biggest lesson I have learned is do not let things surprise you because things change and no matter how hard you try to make everything fit in the way you want it, it is not gonna happen. The best lesson, and probably the hardest lesson for me is that you have to be prepared for everything,” Pefley said.

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