The TOY Honorees Include Educators From Arcadia, Azusa, Canoga Park, Culver City, Downey, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Paramount and Pasadena
from the Los Angeles County Office of Education
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. and LOS ANGELES, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- A total of 16 winners were named today as the 2010-11 Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year, representing the profession's "best of the best" in the state's largest honors competition for K-12 educators.
At a morning hotel ceremony, the "Sweet 16" were named by Los Angeles County Interim Supt. of Schools Jon R. Gundry as outstanding educators who have been serving with praiseworthy distinction. Judged as the county's top public school teachers for this academic year, they will serve as standard-bearers for the teaching profession and their 80,000 classroom colleagues countywide.
The winning educators, comprised of 10 women and 6 men, teach a range of grades and subjects at a diversity of school locales, including: Arcadia, Baldwin Park, Canoga Park, Culver City, Downey, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Paramount and Pasadena. (See full list following.)
The entire field of 81 teachers who participated in the L.A. County competition had all been recently selected as teacher(s) of the year by their respective school districts.
The L.A. County Teachers of the Year Program, presented by the Los Angeles County Office of Education, is the largest local competition in the state and nation, and is part of the oldest and most prestigious honors contest in the U.S. for public school teachers. The number of winners — 16 — is determined by program rules based on the total number of school teachers (80,000) in L.A. County.
"These hard-working teachers have been judged by their colleagues as exemplifying the very best in this wonderful profession of public education. Every day in the classroom they make the most of a precious opportunity — to make a positive difference in the lives of their students," said Gundry about the group of 16, each of whom received a $1,000 cash prize courtesy of the California Credit Union, the program's main sponsor.
In addition to getting interviewed, contestants submitted essays, lesson plans and other materials to judging panels comprised of peers. At all levels, TOY contests are designed to focus public attention on teaching excellence and to honor exemplary dedication, compelling classroom practices, positive accomplishments and professional commitment.
State Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell participated in the announcement of the Sweet 16, who all automatically advance with other county titlists from around the state to the California Teachers of the Year competition this fall. The state is scheduled to announce its five (5) co-winners in November. But only one (1) of those state co-winners will be chosen to represent California in the National Teacher of the Year contest next spring.
The other sponsors of the Teachers of the Year program were: eInstruction, DigitalEdgeLearning and Lakeshore Learning.
- In addition to the LACOE “Sweet 16” a total of 64 Teachers of the Year from individual school districts throughout the county were honored – includung 17 exemplary teachers from LAUSD.
- And Three Parent Volunteers of the Year were named:
- Edie Babbe from Manhattan Beach USD
- Dashema Coleman from Palmdale USD
- and Scott Folsom from LAUSD
The 2010-11 L.A. County Teachers of the Year (alphabetical by district):
ARCADIA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — KELSEY BROWN
Holly Avenue Elem School, 5th Grade; Years Teaching: 13; Residence: Pasadena
AZUSA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — KIMBERLY OPEL
Foothill Middle School, 7th Grade; Years Teaching: 6; Residence: Azusa
BALDWIN PARK UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — BEVERLY GONZALEZ
Santa Fe School, 4th Grade; Years Teaching: 15; Residence: Upland
CULVER CITY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — PATTY ESKRIDGE
Farragut Elementary School, 1st Grade; Years Teaching: 34; Residence: Culver City
DOWNEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISRICT — ALLISON ISRAWI
Williams Elem School, K-thru-3rd Grade; Years Teaching: 6; Residence: Downey
HACIENDA LA PUENTE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — ANDREW KING
La Puente High School, U.S. History; Years Teaching: 3; Residence: Walnut
LONG BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — NICOLE JACKSON
MacArthur Elem School, Kindergarten; 4; Years Teaching: 17; Residence: Long Beach
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (#1) — JOSIE TORRES-SAFFIE
John Sutter Middle School, English; Years Teaching: 11; Residence: Winnetka
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (#3) — ROBERT JEFFERS
Dorsey High School, English; Years Teaching: 8; Residence: Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (#3) — ALLISON RIEF
Virginia Road Elem School, Pre-K; Years Teaching: 8; Residence: Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (#5) — BRIAN MORITA
El Sereno Elem School, 6th Grade; Years Teaching: 8; Residence: Downey
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (#6) — ANTONIA GUZMAN
Intn'l Studies Learning Ctr, English/Journalism; Years Teaching: 11; Residence: Norwalk
MANHATTAN BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — WILLIAM FAUVER
Mira Costa HS, U.S./World History; Years Teaching: 23; Residence: Redondo Beach
PARAMOUNT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — DAVID BALSTAD
Paramount Park Middle School, 7th Grade; Years Teaching: 11; Residence: Long Beach
PASADENA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — TINA REPETTI RENZULLO
McKinley School, Kindergarten; Years Teaching: 21; Residence: Pasadena
SOUTH PASADENA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — PAUL GROVES
South Pasadena HS, Chemistry; Years Teaching: 32; Residence: Sylmar
Five LAUSD Educators Win Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year Award
Five LAUSD educators are among a group of 16 teachers named the “best of the best” in L.A. County public schools
Los Angeles Unified School District News Release
September 20, 2010 -- Los Angeles—The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) congratulates five educators who have been named 2010-2011 County Teachers of the Year (TOY) winners by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). These five exceptional LAUSD educators today were recognized at a ceremony in Universal City that honored the county’s top 16 teachers.
Antonia Guzman, a resident of Norwalk, has been a teacher for 11 years. She has taught English and journalism at the International Studies Learning Center in South Gate for four years.
Robert Jeffers has been an English teacher at Susan Miller Dorsey High School for seven years. He is a resident of Los Angeles and has taught for eight years.
Brian Morita, a resident of Downey, has been a teacher for eight years. He has taught math, science and health at El Sereno Elementary School for a year.
Allison Rief has been a teacher at Virginia Road Elementary School for a year. She is a resident of Los Angeles and has been teaching for eight years.
Josephine Torres-Saffie, a resident of Winnetka, has been a teacher for 11 years. She has taught English at John A. Sutter Middle School for eight years.
“I congratulate these five exemplary teachers for bringing dedication, passion and enthusiasm to class everyday to provide an engaging learning experience,” said LAUSD Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines. “These teachers have gone above and beyond to make a difference within their schools and contribute to their communities.”
The “Sweet 16” county winners were selected by judging panels comprised of their peers from a field of 81 contestants as part of the annual county competition. All candidates, including other LAUSD entrants, were recently named Teacher of the Year from their respective school districts. The county’s TOY program is the state’s largest and affiliated with the nation’s most prestigious honors competition for educators. The program recognizes contestants based on professional growth, commitment, personal attributes, professional skills and community involvement. Those selected are now eligible to compete for California Teacher of the Year this fall.
In Antonia Guzman’s English classroom at the International Studies Learning Center, learning is an adventure that goes “beyond the knowledge found in books.”
“We learn to develop a voice and create meaning for ourselves, to be critical and independent thinkers in our society,” Guzman said in her application. “I give them the tools necessary to develop their voice and be successful in life.”
Robert Jeffers believes in the “need for students to engage in school beyond academics,” which includes warming-up before a test much like any professional athlete does before competitions.
“I strongly advocate a commitment to academics, intensive community service, consistent participation in athletics, and involvement with the arts,” Jeffers said about his students at Dorsey High School. “In short, the importance of being a well-rounded person.”
As a mathematics teacher at El Sereno Elementary School, Brian Morita and his class collectively work together to extend learning “beyond the walls of the classroom” as a family.
“The students and I respect one another as members of a collective family,” Morita said in his application. “An often difficult concept to understand involves the multiplication of multi-digit numbers by two-digit numbers [so] I planned a family meeting titled, ‘Multiplication from Around the World.’”
Allison Rief greets her Pre-K students at Virginia Road Elementary School with a smile at the door “and sometimes a hug when they need it.” She also provides a safe learning experience for her students.
“I understand the importance of making learning accessible, multi-dimensional and hands-on,” Rief states in her application. “So when we were learning about fall, we went outside with magnifying glasses to look at the different colors and textures of the leaves.”
For students in Josephine Torres-Saffie’s classroom at John A. Sutter Middle School, they start the day off right with Michael Jackson’s song “Wanna’ Be Startin’ Somethin’ ” to motivate them to succeed.
“Despite heart wrenching obstacles, many students find it in themselves to move forward and accomplish far beyond expectations,” said Torres-Saffie in her application. “They are often a source of inspiration and certainly the core of my teaching.”
Past LAUSD winners include recent TOY winner Lewis Chappelear from Monroe High School, who was named a state TOY for 2008; and Monroe High School teacher Kelly Jean Hanock, who was a 2006 state winner. Before Hanock, the last LAUSD teachers recognized were Evaline K. Kruse from Audubon Junior High School in 1985, and Carole Billone from the Marlton School for the deaf, who received the award in 1976. Today, these five teachers could follow in the footsteps of other LAUSD TOY winners as they move on to compete for the 2010-2011 California Teacher of the Year.