Teacher of the Month: Jesse Zitrin

Jesse Zitrin

CTE Business, CTE Marketing, and English Language Arts

School: Benicia High School

Location: Benicia, California

Jesse Zitrin is a native San Franciscan and has lived and worked in the Bay Area most of his life. In 2008 Jesse earned his Master’s in Sport Management at the University of San Francisco and started working at Juma Ventures. Juma is a social enterprise dedicated to helping youth through college and out of poverty, by employing them in wholly-owned stadium concessions operations. As the business manager, he worked on hundreds of events at Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders, and Cal Bears games, and saw close-up how high schoolers think, learn, work, and feel in the real world. It also showed him the power of business as an authentic teaching tool. After Juma, Jesse left sports and worked in sales and account management for a trio of data technology startups, from hospitality customer feedback at Market Metrix (now part of Clarabridge) to app store business intelligence at App Annie, before deciding to become an educator.

Jesse and his family

In 2017, Jesse earned his M.Ed and teaching credential at Chico State—here’s his commencement speech for that year’s CSU Chico School of Education. He signed on to teach English Language Arts at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, CA (far Eastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area) and moved to nearby Benicia, CA. Deer Valley has a Business Academy which he joined when the Marketing teacher retired—the previous teacher had already developed a functioning student store that was integrated with the class, which Jesse continued. In Fall 2020, as Jesse and his wife decided to homeschool his two young children under Covid, he jumped at a chance to teach English in his new hometown at Benicia High School. A 4×4 schedule under Covid allowed his school to launch a marketing course this spring—securing funding for Stukent was one of Jesse’s early moves. With that underway, he wrote the course outline for a capstone Business Foundations course that is scheduled to start in Fall 2021.

We asked Jesse a few questions. His answers are below.


I used Mimic Social High School for two years at Deer Valley. This year at Benicia High School we’ve used Mimic Social and Mimic Digital, and I can see one day expanding to Personal Finance.


I’m happy to share or collaborate on any materials I can. Web teacher website is biy.ly/marketwithzitrin. (The Business Foundations course is still under development—suggestions welcome!) One fruitful practice has been what I call the I/O journal, for Input/Output, detailed here. Each Tuesday, students find one news story on their own (from this menu of options) and write up their notes and reactions (in this format.) On Thursdays, we do something similar, but I provide the article based on what we’re studying or what’s trending. (I keep content bookmarked in Diigo, and here’s my Article Of The Week archive.)

Jesse and his students on a field trip to Galt


In 2004 I traveled to Mulhouse, Alsace in France as a visiting baseball player/coach. The team, in the far East of a country where baseball’s an afterthought, played in a German league, so I like to say I was once the only professional baseball player in France. I also traveled professionally for basketball as referee for a show team called the Harlem Ambassadors which took me to Alaska, Puerto Rico, and South Korea, and throughout the U.S. As a member of a boys’ choir I also sang the National Anthem at the 1984-85 Super Bowl, which my hometown 49ers then won—all of which has made me an excellent “Two Truths And a Lie” player (don’t tell!)

Thank you, Jesse, and congratulations!




Email: [email protected]

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