Change begins with a teacher.

This is the belief that carries Celeste Westbay forward, a Touro University California Multiple Subject candidate who is determined to make a difference in her student's lives.

"It's important to have teachers who are motivated and I think I would be a really good part of that," the Graduate School of Education student says modestly.

No doubt, Celeste is highly motivated; she is a student, mother, and wife who is completing Touro's credential program in just three semesters (one calendar year) - a challenging feat for someone with myriad responsibilities.

She recently wrapped up her first segment of student teaching at Nelda Mundy Elementary School in Fairfield and is now getting ready for her second nine-week student teaching stint in Vallejo.

"The kids are so engaged and it's just fun to have little ones who you can mold and teach," she says. "They're like sponges; it's exciting to be a part of their education process."

Celeste is determined to create change and finds her resolution is stemmed by her own experiences. She says candidly that as a child, there was "never a teacher who left an impression."

"I didn't have that impact. I was invisible and quiet," she recalls. "I think that's why I want to teach. I don't want kids to feel that way, or feel that their experiences don't mean much because it does."

Celeste is a University of California, Davis graduate with a major in history. She served in the U.S. Air Force as an Emergency Medical Technician before realizing her admiration for teaching was worth a change.

"Touro is a perfect fit for me. The program is convenient, the times work perfectly, and the staff cares about our progress," Celeste says. "I look forward to having a career enjoying what I do."

She continues. "I'm constantly thinking of new lessons and ideas, and just enjoy working with kids. I hope one day they remember I taught them well."

As for advice on those looking to join the teaching program at TUC, Celeste is ready to offer some words.

"You have to focus on a goal and be a positive influence on the kids," she says, then adds, "It requires a lot of time and devotion in this program and it's very intense. But it's worth it. Just keep your eye on the prize."

The Graduate School of Education offers 23 program options, including online programs. GSOE began in 2004 and has granted more than 600 credentials and MA. Ed. Degrees. To learn more about the Graduate School of Education, click here.