Contact: Makinya Ward, California Casualty, 650.573.4339,


Warner Middle School, Westminster, CA, Wins California Casualty's $7,500 School Lounge Makeover


San Mateo, California, October 11, 2012…The newest winner of a $7,500 School Lounge Makeover contest sponsored by California Casualty is Warner Middle School in Westminster, CA. The winning entry came from math and science teacher Richard Gentile, but even he didn't know about it until California Casualty representatives made a surprise presentation at the school in mid-September.

It was a special thrill for all of the faculty, but especially Gentile, who is a 19-year veteran at Warner and a consummate lifelong learner. During the summers, he travels to Vietnam to teach English at universities. During the regular school year, he works a second teaching job after hours. He holds three different bachelor's degrees, an MBA, a Master's of Education, and is working on a third Master's in Healthcare Administration. Gentile hopes to eventually earn a doctorate. "Collecting degrees is my hobby," he joked.

His jokes are a big reason why students request his classes, Gentile said. "They know they'll have fun. Then they also learn that they will work very hard – I tell them, ‘Our mission is to learn, not to fool around,' and that I'm pretty strict."

He didn't mind a bit that his colleagues dubbed him "Hero of the Day" for winning the California Casualty School Lounge Makeover.

Warner Middle School is home to just under 1,000 students and has a diverse student body roughly one-third Asian, one-third Latino and one-third Caucasian, African American and others. Many students are on free or reduced cost lunches. Warner is undergoing construction of three new facilities – a gym, cafeteria and science buildings – but none of the funds could be applied toward the existing staff lounge.

All of Warner's teachers got to weigh in on what they'd like to see improved in their lounge. Gentile voted for a new air conditioner. Local designers will work with California Casualty and teachers to come up with a design plan to implement this fall. 

Recognizing the lifelong impact of teachers and the current financial strain on public schools, California Casualty created the School Lounge Makeover contest in 2011.  Several times each year, one randomly drawn winner receives a major transformation of the primary space at his or her school that teachers can go to rejuvenate and recharge.

Members of AEA (Arizona Education Association),CTA (California Teachers Association) and NEA (National Education Association) are eligible to enter the contest. All AEA, CTA and NEA members at school may also enter, thus increasing their school's chances of winning. Complete rules and entry forms are at

Headquartered in San Mateo, CA, with Service Centers in Arizona, Colorado and Kansas, California Casualty is a 98-year-old company providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement, fire fighters and nurses in 44 states.  Learn more at