by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Spark Photography

A Lesson in Commitment

faces_chell2When Heather Chell was a young student, she had a difficult time learning in school. She remembered many of her teachers not knowing how to respond to her learning challenges. As an adult, Heather used this memory as motivation to acquire her own teaching credential and help other students learn in a way that they could thrive. “I wanted to be a teacher and learn how to teach children who needed someone who understands what it’s like to not always understand,” said Heather. “I wanted to approach teaching with a multifaceted lens, knowing that not all students fit in the same box and that students need different approaches to learning material.”

Today, Heather is a third grade teacher at Jerabek Elementary School in Scripps Ranch. “I wear a lot of hats at Jerabek,” noted Heather. “First and foremost, I am a classroom teacher who teaches to the individual needs of each of my students.” Heather is also the lead teacher at her grade level, administrative designee when the school principal is off campus, and the Site Governance Team co-chair. “I love my jobs!” she exclaimed.


Name: Heather Leann Chell
Profession: Third grade teacher and higher ed professor at UCSD Extensions
Community: Scripps Ranch
Hobbies & Interests: Traveling with family, planting succulents in my yard (my husband and I are always on the hunt for new varieties!), and dinner with friends
Favorite Places to Visit in 92131: Coffee and pastries at the French Oven, soccer with my daughter at Jerabek or Cypress Canyon Park, a quiet spot at the Scripps Ranch Library, walking our dogs in the neighborhood with my husband, son and daughter, and Yanni’s Bar & Grill


faces_chell3Although she has her work cut out for her, Heather wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love Jerabek for so many reasons,” she shared. “The community support is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this community. When anybody needs anything, they are here to rally and provide whatever that may be. Our parents donate in the way of time, money, personal talents.” Heather’s own two children, Reese (11) and Evan (13) were “Jerabekians,” as Heather would say. “I couldn’t be more proud to say that,” Heather said.

As if she doesn’t do enough for the school, Heather also gives back by volunteering in setting up the school’s new STEM lab. “(My volunteer work) included everything from assembling furniture, engaging in conversations about the overall vision, and training for Piper computers and our new 3D printer,” described Heather.

“I have given my heart to this school and will continue to do so through volunteerism.”

As she plans for her future, Heather sees Jerabek remaining a big part of her life. “I see my work at Jerabek continuing even after I eventually retire,” she said. “I have given my heart to this school and will continue to do so through volunteerism.”