Teacher Coaches Reflect On what they have learned


Diego Lopez, Staff Writer

When Urban’s varsity soccer team won NCS in November, head coach Danny Cardoza was as focused on his A period Spanish class as he was on the game.

Cardoza is one of the few teacher-coaches at Urban including Charisse Wu, History teacher, coach of girls volleyball and assistant coach of girls varsity volleyball, and Samantha Littlejohn, Science teacher and assistant coach for the girls varsity soccer team. They get a unique perspective of students’ lives as students as well as athletes. “Oh yeah, there is so much overlap,” said Cardoza, Spanish teacher and coach of the boys varsity soccer team and girls juniors varsity team. “There is so much to learn(from coaching and teaching), I can’t even name all the things because there is just so much.”

Charisse Wu and Danny Cardoza were teacher-coaches long before their Urban teaching careers. “I have been coaching almost every year that I have taught,” Wu said. Both started involvement in the sports they coach at a young age. “I grew up playing all sports, soccer being my favorite. I have played throughout my entire life,” said Cardoza.

Charisse started playing sports in high school, starting club volleyball freshman year and continuing her sophomore year on the Junior Varsity team and then playing on the Varsity team for two years. In college she played beach volleyball and started coaching thereafter.

On coaching and teaching Wu said, “I think that coaching has helped me to teach a lot more than teaching has helped me to coach…because I assist so I am not the one who is setting the practices and I really like being a role as an assistant coach because I can just be there and help the girls with skill development.”

Both Cardoza and Wu expressed this desire to see development in the athletes and students they are responsible for. Cardoza echoed this sentiment, “It’s awesome to see the growth, over the course of season or course from the term in class to see the growth from the individual and the group itself.” This is what makes these teacher-coaches special.