TORIN FINNEY is a teacher, artist and author in Southern California Torin Finney

Since 2005, Mr. Finney has taught history and economics at Fullerton Union High School in Orange County, where he served as social science teacher in an interdisciplinary Digital Arts and Humanities Program for eight years.

He participated actively in both Small Learning Communities and Professional Learning Communities with the goal of maximizing instructional effectiveness and student success through collaborative lesson planning and projects.

His classes integrate both California Content Standards in Social Science and Common Core literacy standards through the use of digital classrooms, Socratic seminars, student presentations, academic research, targeted and Cornell notes, critical essay activities, role play, documentary film, period music and writing, and interactive review and assessment.


In 2000 he earned his California Teacher Credential in Social Science from the University of La Verne and went on to teach world history for five years in the Bakersfield City School District, organizing an after-school drama club for middle school students. During this time, he also taught U.S. history as an adjunct instructor at Bakersfield College.


In 1991 he earned his Master of Divinity from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley with a year-long pastoral internship in Hawaii. Mr. Finney worked in parish ministry in Kansas and later served as a high school theology teacher and lay catechist for the Diocese of Fresno. In April 2000 he led an educational group tour of Ireland.


Mr. Finney majored in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz, focusing on the multicultural diversity of the American experience and the relationships between historical events and American literature, art, music, political thought, demographic patterns and economic cycles.

After graduating with honors, he went on to earn his Master of Arts degree in American Civilization at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where he studied under noted scholars Irving Bartlett, Thomas N. Brown and Gordon Zahn.

His thesis there was later expanded into a full-length biography and published as Unsung Hero of the Great War: The Life and Witness of Ben Salmon (Paulist Press, 1989), winner of the 1990 Pax Christi USA Book Award.


From the late 90s through much of the 2000s he portrayed a sketch artist for Harper's Weekly, giving presentations to schools, civic groups, parks, and museums across the US on the role reporters played in covering important events in 19th century American history. The portfolio he created in character over this period includes over 70 original charcoal and pencil sketches.

Copyright©2018 Torin Finney