Chaos in the classroom? What teachers and administrators can do about student behavior

In the wake of distance learning, many students and teachers were relieved to return to school and some semblance of normalcy. But it hasn’t been easy. Teachers say they are struggling to teach students who are disengaged or exhibiting serious behavior problems.

School and district administrators sometimes offer little support, according to teachers. Some teachers cite discipline issues as a factor for leaving teaching or retiring early.

EdSource and a panel of educators explore the causes for the current crisis and potential solutions.

Read more about this roundtable.

Please scroll down for more information about the panelists.


Gina N. Gray

English teacher at Middle College High School in Los Angeles Unified

Gina N Gray, M.Ed is a high school English Teacher at Middle College High School in Los Angeles Unified School District, now in her sixth year as a teacher. Ms. G serves on CTA State Council, School Safety/School Management Committee. She also serves as Women’s Advocacy Coordinator for United Teachers of Los Angles/National Education Association Equity Team and is a member of UTLA’s House Of Representatives. She was a  2021-2022 Teach Plus California Policy Fellow.

She completed her master’s degree in Education Policy and Leadership in 2020 and will finish her masters in Curriculum and Instruction Spring 2022. She is passionate about the work necessary to ensure equitable educational opportunities are available to students impacted by systemic injustices, while also elevating the needs of classroom teachers serving students, families and communities.

Mike Patterson

Automotive technology teacher at South Tahoe High School in Lake Tahoe Unified

Mike Patterson teaches automotive technology at South Tahoe High School in Lake Tahoe Unified, where he has taught for 30 years. Before his teaching career, he worked as an auto and bus technician and is a strong advocate for career technical education.

He is serving his third term on the CTA Board, representing a district covering 23 counties from Tuolumne north to the Oregon border. He was a three-time president of the South Tahoe Educators Association. He served on the El Dorado County Democratic Central Committee and also coached his high school’s golf team for 12 years. Patterson holds a bachelor’s in industrial technology from California State University, Chico.

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez

Fourth and fifth grade teacher at Mather Heights Elementary in Folsom Cordova Unified and school board member at Washington Unified in West Sacramento

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez is a National Board Certified Teacher and former district Teacher of the Year. She is entering her nineteenth year teaching in Folsom Cordova Unified School District, where she is also the facilitator of the National Board Network and support program. Sarah is in her ninth year serving on the Washington Unified School District Board in West Sacramento, where she is currently vice president. Sarah lives with her husband and two children — a third grader and sixth grader.

Erick Rouanzoin

Principal at Fruitvale Junior High in Fruitvale School District, Bakersfield

Erick Rouanzoin is the principal of Fruitvale Junior High School in Bakersfield, his 7th year as a school administrator. Previously he taught 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade history in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. He collaborated with district staff to develop and teach two intervention classes called Gear ‘N’ Up for students who needed extra support in SEL and academics. He leads a passionate team that believes students need to be met where they are at (social-emotionally and academically), need to be given choice, and need to be given time to accomplish growth.

Rachel Andrews

Mental health and wellness counselor at Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach Unified and part-time lecturer in the Cal State Long Beach department of advanced studies in education and counseling

Rachel Andrews is a Mental Health and Wellness Counselor at Redondo Union High School, as well as part-time lecturer in the CSULB Department of Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling.

She is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credentialed School Counselor. She earned her Masters Degree in Counseling, Pupil & Personnel Services Credential, and License in Professional Clinical Counseling from Loyola Marymount University, her GATE Certification from UC Irvine, and her Bachelors Degree in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara, where she also served as a research assistant.

She has 15 years of counseling experience in schools serving students from grades 6-12, as well as college.  Prior to her work in schools, Rachel worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which inspired her to work with school-aged youth.

Diana Lambert

Panel moderator; Reporter, EdSource

Diana Lambert covers teachers and teaching for EdSource. Previously, she covered education for  The Sacramento Bee for more than a decade. She has won numerous awards, including the 2017 James Madison Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalism, and both a first-place honor for investigative reporting from The Inland Press Association and the McClatchy President’s Award in 2016. Before becoming an education reporter Diana was a bureau chief for the Sacramento Bee. She began her career at age 17 as a part-time proofreader for the Lodi News-Sentinel. Diana earned a B.A. from California State University, Sacramento.

Anne Vasquez

Panel moderator; CEO, EdSource

Anne Vasquez took the helm as EdSource’s chief executive in May 2021. Previously, she served as Director of Content and Strategic Initiatives at EdSource. In that role, she helped shape editorial strategy, grow partnerships and expand the organization’s footprint throughout California. Prior to joining EdSource, Anne was an executive at Tribune Publishing, where she most recently served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Chief Digital Officer. She previously was the Managing Editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Anne began her career at The Miami Herald and the San Jose Mercury News, where she was an education reporter and later an editor.