By Joe Orlando, CRCR Public Information Officer

One of the first “outstanding” teachers profiled by the California Lottery is Chris Lawyer, a computer instructor at O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility (YCF) in Stockton.

The Lottery requested information on the finest educators in 100 words or less. The Division of Juvenile Justice Superintendent of Schools Tami McKee-Sani forwarded the names and profiles of 13 teachers from Close YCF, N.A. Chaderjian YCF, Ventura YCF and Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp.

Meet Chris Lawyer

Chris Lawyer

Chris Lawyer

Up to 247 and counting – it’s the number of Microsoft Office (MOS) Certifications students in Chris Lawyer’s computer class at Johanna Boss High School have earned since 2008. The students are incarcerated at O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton.

“I couldn’t figure it out, but the kid sitting next to him can figure it out,” said Lawyer, who has taught there since 1989.

Lawyer said it’s this type of camaraderie which allows rival gang members to sit side-by-side and help each other while bettering themselves.

Students like Andrew Snow, who achieved Master certification and is now Lawyer’s student aide, earn money he can use when he heads to college in the fall. Snow, who has been at the correctional facility for three-and-a-half years, is scheduled to be released next month.

“Everything I learned here, I know I can use out there,” the 21-year-old Snow said.

Lawyer emphasized some of these students had never even used a computer when they arrived. He said there are three levels of certification: MOS, Expert and Master.

Snow is one of just nine students in Lawyer’s six-year program to achieve Master status. Lawyer said his aide has answered questions even he, the teacher, couldn’t answer.

“The biggest thrill for me is the kid who nobody thought he could do this, or anything for that matter, and he gets Microsoft certified,” Lawyer added.

Lawyer said he’s proud of the small contributions he has made in his students’ lives.

Snow said he will never forget time spent in this classroom and the computer and life lessons he’s learned.

Read the original profile at


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