I have been going back to school with a heavy heart since the loss of my UCLA classmate and colleague, Joel Rothblatt. Joel’s smile and optimism are sorely missed as our district has launched a multi-million dollar student information system that doesn’t work. Instead of kvetching, Joel would be shaking hands with each student, building strong relationships, and getting the school year off to a great start. You are sorely missed, buddy. Sorry for the bad photo, I hope to upload a better scan later in the week.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. A collection of Joel’s classroom materials will be auctioned with proceeds to go into a scholarship fund to benefit Joel’s children.