The Walnut Valley Unified School District recognized the 2011-2012 Teachers of the Year during the 15th Annual Salute to Teachers held October 17.
The 15 outstanding educators were selected by their peers for putting “Kids First” each and every day.
More than 300 teachers, staff members, administrators, family members, and local officials attended the celebration recognizing excellence in teaching held at the Walnut High School Performing Arts Center.
The following educators made the the list of the 2011-2012 Teachers of the Year: Kelly Howard - Castle Rock Elementary, Erin Donnelly -Chaparral Middle School, Valerie Suarez-Moya - C.J. Morris Elementary, Liz Dickerson - Collegewood Elementary, Sandy Davis - Diamond Bar High, Cathy Patterson – Evergreen Elementary, Lynda Keelan - Maple Hill Elementary, Cindy Giang - Quail Summit Elementary, Johann Aaron – Ron Hockalt Acadmies, Debbie Myers - South Pointe Middle School, Alice Chen - Suzanne Middle School, Irene Carter - Vejar Elementary, Jennifer Yi - Walnut Elementary, Donna Crisci - Walnut High and Katie Jeanal - Westhoff Elementary.
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Kathy Granger and Director of Human Resources Robert Chang hosted the recognition ceremony that included personalized tributes, music, and awards.
The 40-member Walnut High Rhapsody in Blue girls ensemble performed the lighthearted songs “Taylor the Latte Boy” and “Forget About the Boy” under the direction of Lisa Lopez.
The program culminated with recognition of Sandy Davis as the 2012 District Teacher of the Year. Sandy has also been named one of the “Sweet 16” 2013 Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year and will now compete for the California Teacher of the Year Award.
Superintendent Dean Conklin congratulated the honorees for their dedication to the children in Walnut Valley.
The district's principals have described the honorees as innovative, engaging, creative, amazing, exemplifying excellence, having high expectations for students, a quiet leader on campus, joyful, a lifelong learner, highest level of professional commitment and skill, a team player, generous, collaborative, having integrity and compassion. Comments also included they are “the cool teacher,” they’re encouraging, highly skilled, the “go to” person and incredible asset to our school, and they are lived at our school, Conklin said.
“I want to thank all the teachers in the audience today in particular those 15 for the work you that you do and congratulate you for this level of achievement,” he said.
Each Teacher of the Year received a personalized golden apple bell award courtesy of the Walnut Valley Educational Foundation, Chick-Fil-A meal every month for a year, dinner at the Whole Enchilada Mexican Restaurant, rolling cart with school supplies; a $25 MasterCard gift card, a ream of paper and pencils (Chaffey Credit Union); and $50 Visa gift card (Schools First Federal Credit Union).
Each Teacher of the Year also received certificates of achievement from U.S. Congressman Ed Royce, Senator Bob Huff, Assemblyman Curt Hagman, City Council of Diamond Bar, and City Council of City of Walnut.
The 2012 District Teacher of the Year English teacher Sandy Davis is celebrating her 25th year in education and 10th at Diamond Bar High.
She said that she had recently paused and reminisced about 25 years in the “kid business.”
“I realized that I have taught every grade level in some capacity in most grades K-12 with the exception of first and third grade. And from this frame of reference, I can honestly say that I genuinely appreciate what each grade level teacher contributes in this very critical mission of preparing our students for high school graduation and beyond, Davis said.
“I am also a peer counseling adviser and am blessed to have the unique opportunities to hear the inspiring stories of the dedicated and caring staff here in Walnut Valley. You’ve made a meaningful impact on all of our students’ lives,” she added.
“No matter what grade level one teaches - from transitional kindergarten to grade 12 to our dedicated support staff- we all have a stake, we all matter, we all care. As we collectively prepare our students to be successful productive citizens clearly all of the teachers being honored here today have been recognized as your school’s best and most dedicated. I am genuinely humbled to be counted among this talented and dedicated group,” she said.
Davis was presented with a red marble apple award, a gift basket filled with donations from local businesses, and a weekend getaway at the Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego.