EASTIN ANNOUNCES FIVE
CALIFORNIA TEACHERS OF THE YEAR 2003
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public
Instruction Delaine Eastin today named five outstanding
teachers as California's Teachers of the Year 2003: Virginia
Avila, Grant High School, Grant Joint Union High
School District, Sacramento, Sacramento County; Anne
Marie Bergen, Magnolia Elementary School, Oakdale
Joint Unified School District, Oakdale, Stanislaus County;
Connie Baumgardt Blackburn, Central School,
Escondido Union School District, Escondido, San Diego
County; Christopher Mullin, Santa Ynez
Valley Union High School, Santa Ynez Valley Union High
School District, Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara County; and
Tamara Thornell, Norman R. Brekke School,
Oxnard Elementary School District, Oxnard, Ventura County.
Biographies of the awardees are attached below.
have entrusted the future of this nation to our teachers,"
said Eastin. "Teachers help mold the attitudes, beliefs,
and achievements that will determine the character of our
next generation. They are role models for living and inspiration
for learning. I am proud to recognize the work of California's
307,000 teachers and to congratulate these dedicated professionals."
California selects five top teachers to serve as state Teachers
of the Year, only one name can be submitted for consideration
as National Teacher of the Year. This year's California
nominee is Virginia Avila. The announcement
for the National Teacher of the Year, a program sponsored
by the Council of Chief State School Officers, will be made
in spring 2003. The current National Teacher of the Year
is Chauncey Veatch from Coachella Valley High School in
Riverside County, California.
is the first year that California has named alternate Teachers
of the Year. Eastin named as alternates: James Jordan,
Del Campo High School, San Juan Unified School District,
Fair Oaks, Sacramento County; and Sharon Roxburgh,
Dr. Juliet Thorner School, Bakersfield City School District,
Bakersfield, Kern County.
made this decision because of the caliber of the finalists,"
said Eastin. "Education represents one of the most
important investments that society makes in itself, influencing
not only individual development and potential, but also
the economic and cultural well being of our state and nation."
Teachers of the Year nominations are submitted by county
offices of education following regional competitions. At
the state level, a committee representing a broad cross-section
of the state reviews nominations. This year's committee
included teachers, administrators, and other members of
the educational community. Approximately 60 nominations
were narrowed to a field of semi-finalists. Each semi-finalist
received a classroom visit by three veteran Teachers of
the Year who are practicing professionals. Several finalists
were subsequently interviewed by a panel comprised of representatives
from a school district, the business community, and the
state superintendent's office.
The State Board of Education
will formally recognize the new California Teachers of the
Year in January 2003. A dinner will be sponsored by the
California Teachers of the Year Foundation; the California
State Lottery; Toshiba America Electronics Components, Inc.;
the Masons of California; GTECH; National Semiconductor;
Harcourt Educational Measurement; The Men's Wearhouse; and
NCS Pearson. Other partners include the Sacramento Kings
and Raley's/Bel Air.
For further information,
please contact Kimberly A. Edwards, coordinator of the California
Teacher of the Year program at the California Department
of Education, at 916-319-0415.
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TEACHERS OF THE YEAR 2003
Avila teaches ninth grade physical education and
English at Grant High School in Sacramento. She always has
wanted to be a teacher. When she was 10, she would gather
together the neighborhood kids to sit on old tires holding
boards on their laps for desks. Ms. Avila attributes her
love of teaching to her father who valued integrity, character,
and fairness, and who taught her to show utmost respect
for teachers and the clergy. She has won numerous awards
for her teaching and, although she has had opportunities
to teach elsewhere, she says she belongs where she is now.
Ms. Avila also has taught elementary and junior high school,
as well as severely emotionally disturbed children. She
volunteers extensively in the community.
Virginia Avila can be reached at Grant
High School, 1400 Grand Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95838, at
Marie Bergen, who serves as K-6 science coordinator/teacher
at Magnolia Elementary School in Oakdale, quotes poet Robert
Frost when she explains how the profession fulfills her.
From The Road Not Taken, she cites: "Two roads
diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference." Torn between
an internship at a genetics lab and a teaching position,
Ms. Bergen chose to teach and has never looked back. Now
some 17 years later, she espouses for students an active
learning environment, meaningful learning experiences, and
compassionate teaching that engages students of all ages,
abilities, and languages.
Anne Marie Bergen can be reached at Magnolia
Elementary School, 739 Magnolia Street, Oakdale, CA 95361,
at (209) 847-0391.
Baumgardt Blackburn teaches kindergarten at Central
School in Escondido. She sees herself as an ambassador for
education. "Teaching is not for the light-hearted,
but for the courageous," she said, while at the same
time proclaiming teaching as the best profession in the
world. She can't see herself doing anything else. New teachers
should be paired with mentors, according to Ms. Blackburn.
Her special pleas to people considering a teaching career,
or who recently have entered the profession but are struggling,
is that they stay committed to the profession because they
are desperately needed. Her advice to all teachers is to
never stop reading current research or learning new techniques
and, no matter what, to never give up.
Connie Baumgardt Blackburn can be reached
at Central School, 122 W. Fourth Avenue, Escondido, CA 92025,
at (760) 432-2431.
Mullin teaches history, Latin, and AVID (Advancement
Via Individual Determination) classes in grades 9-12 at
Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in Santa Ynez. He believes
the major issues facing education are recruitment, retention,
and meaningful support of teachers throughout their careers.
Mr. Mullin draws upon other cultures, countries, and times
in history for answers to peer-support problems for teachers.
He knows his students are achieving when he sees them debate,
present, write journals, and discuss using primary sources
as living voices. Mr. Mullin's units have ranged from a
post-World War II Berlin summit to a costumed evening in
the Gilded Age. He has served as a teacher-facilitator for
the History-Social Science Project at the University of
California, Santa Barbara. Other activities include his
work as a MetLife Fellow of the Teachers Network Policy
Institute and serving on his school's Digital High School
Christopher Mullin can be reached at Santa
Ynez Valley Union High School, 2975 East Highway 246, Santa
Ynez, CA 93460, at (805) 688-6487.
Thornell teaches a bilingual second grade class
at Norman R. Brekke School in Oxnard. She is a firm believer
in the philosophy that all students can succeed by having
self-confidence, mastering grade-level standards, and loving
to learn. As a bilingual second grade teacher, Ms. Thornell
sees her role as one of ensuring that her students achieve
success in every situation, mastering standards, and enhancing
social interaction. She believes that learners can best
succeed if curriculum content is differentiated to appropriately
meet individual needs. Students are encouraged to think
in-depth about their projects. Ms. Thornell sees herself
as a facilitator and a role model for the learning process.
She applies this philosophy not only in class to her students,
but also in the technology integration workshops she gives
for other educators.
Tamara Thornell can be reached at Norman
R. Brekke School, 1400 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Oxnard,
CA 93030, at (805) 485-1224.
CALIFORNIA TEACHER OF THE YEAR 2003 ALTERNATES
Jordan teaches English and journalism at Del Campo
High School in Fair Oaks. He believes that success in school
begins by being organized. He has students develop note
taking and notebook keeping skills, and maintains a "fanatical
focus" on meeting deadlines. Mr. Jordan provides expectations
about what will happen each day and week, so students know
what's coming. He loves to push students beyond the limits
of what they think they can achieve. His role is similar
to that of a coach, training in the skills necessary and
running alongside clapping and cheering to inspire every
ounce of effort.
James Jordan can be reached at Del Campo High School, 4925
Dewey Drive, Fair Oaks, CA 95628, at (916) 971-5638.
Roxburgh teaches fifth grade at Dr. Juliet Thorner
School in Bakersfield. She is known for her "can-do" attitude.
Supervisors and peers acknowledge her rigorous curriculum,
classroom management, command of subject matter, and ability
to adapt instruction to different styles and levels. Ms.
Roxburgh brought the "Rolling Reader" program
to her district. She challenges parents to be involved in
their children's education, since parents are their children's
first and most important teacher. In class, students learn
to study, memorize, research, and problem solve independently
and in teams. In 2001-02, Roxburgh's class attendance was
97 percent. School needs to be exciting so kids will attend,
she says, and cites, "Bring the body, and the mind
Sharon Roxburgh can be reached at Dr. Juliet
Thorner School, 5501 Thorner Street, Bakersfield, CA 93306,
at (661) 631-5490.
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