New Teachers, Always Learning

We caught up with new Judson International School teachers David Cronk and Melissa Stanley (profiled by Pasadena Now in September) to see how their school year is progressing.

David Cronk, a Pasadena native, teaches second and third grade at the local school. Since Cronk has lived and taught in China, his background is ideally crafted for Judson, with its emphasis on an international student body and curriculum.

Melissa Stanley is a high school English as a Second Language teacher (ESL). Like Cronk, she has extensive experience abroad, having lived and taught in Japan.

Cronk has found his second and third graders very eager to learn. A lot of the education at that level is very nuts and bolts–addition and subtraction, handwriting and spelling. But Cronk also had the opportunity to put his background in China into play when the students did a unit on that country. The Chinese kites the students made are hanging up, waiting for the perfect wind to give them a try.

The students also studied Rome, and the unit culminated in a toga party, complete with grapes, juice and Roman shields.

Stanley realized, while working in Japan, that she enjoyed teaching and wanted to pursue it as career upon her return to the United States. At Judson, her students are from China and Korea.

Teaching ESL is challenging, as students have a variety of experience and academic levels. Stanley teaches a discussion-based class, helping the students to express their ideas in English. The academics are supplemented by such activities as field trips and a history night for which the students dressed up in costumes and made presentations to parents and guests.

The high school students are also civic-minded. They recently raised money for a charity in Mexico by washing cars.

“I’m learning a lot,” says Stanley. “It’s a great environment to be developing as a teacher because the school is small and it’s tight knit. So there’s a lot of flexibility, and people have been very forthcoming and helpful.”

Judson International School is located at 1610 East Elizabeth Street in Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 398-2476 or visit

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