Honoring Joel Rothblatt

Joel Rothblatt, a UCLA colleague and close friend, suffered an inter-cranial brain hemorrhage and passed away on July 21, 2014. Joel was a popular, award-winning Social Studies teacher in LAUSD middle and high schools. He had worked for LAUSD since 2003 at Emerson Middle School, RFK’s High School for the Visual Arts and Humanities, and most recently at the Orville Wright STEAM Magnet.


Mr. Rothblatt held a BA in Political Science from UCLA, a MA in International Finance from Tufts University, and a MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Joel was bilingual in Spanish and became a National Board Certified teacher in Social Studies. Joel had written curriculum for the World History For Us All program at San Diego State University and served as a mentor to student teachers in USC-CALIS.

Joel served as President of the Southern California Social Science Association (SCSSA), was a highly respected Board member of the California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS), and was active in the instructional community for the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) as well. Under his leadership, the SCSSA developed a professional development model called iCircles, where small groups of teachers could share lessons and technology tips. Joel was very social and collegial. He was a teacher’s teacher who was very popular and praised by students. He loved sharing ideas and presented Best Practices seminars at numerous Social Studies conferences.

When his family learned that he would not recover, they elected to donate Joel’s organs to transplant patients. The only other positive from this tragic event was that it was so sudden there was no pain and suffering. Joel is survived by his three children, Dasha, Wyndam, and Max Rothblatt, his brother Steven, and his parents Don and Ann Rothblatt of Palo Alto, California.


The SCSSA is collecting memories of Joel to present to his family in a remembrance book. If you have any thoughts to share with his family and friends, please email it to scottmpetri@gmail.com. A collection of Joel’s classroom materials will be auctioned with proceeds to go into a scholarship fund to benefit Joel’s children.


  1. I have read this post a number of times. Joel was a very special friend. I met him at school in the 1970s and lost touch in the 1980s reconnecting in the 1990s! Intelligent, passionate, caring, dedicated. A great loss to humanity. All blessings and thoughts to his family.

  2. Mr. Rothblatt was a wonderful history teacher and I am shocked by the news of his passing. I was his student last year. I am really sorry to hear this. God bless his family and may he rest in peace.

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