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**Updated October 17, 2019**
SAN JOSE, CA – The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is proud to reveal Santa Clara County's 2019 Teachers of the Year and the Winners of the 2019 Texas Instruments Innovations in STEM Teaching Award.
The following accomplished educators will be honored onstage at the 50th annual Teacher Recognition Celebration to be held at the Heritage Theatre in Campbell on October 3 presented by the SCCOE:
In addition, five exemplary teachers from throughout Santa Clara County were named as recipients of the 2019 Texas Instruments Innovations in STEM Teaching Award. This award honors Santa Clara County public school teachers for their outstanding contributions in the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Each applicant, nominated by their respective principals, was subjected to a rigorous application process. A panel of experts reviewed this year's candidates.
Each STEM award winner will receive a cash award of $1,000 from Texas Instruments. They also have an opportunity to attend a free professional development course offered by the Santa Clara County Office of Education.
The 2019 awardees are:
Alum Rock Union School District
Subjects Taught: Engineer and Computer Science
"Many students today are wary of making mistakes and failing - Engineering and Computer Science are an easy way to show them that failure isn't only OK; it's required. Ideas are great - until we try them, we don't know if they will work or not, and especially in new areas, we're going to make lots of mistakes," stated Benoit.
Los Altos School District
Subjects Taught: Computer Science
"My knowledge of computer science has helped me over the years to learn many skills since it teaches you a way of thinking and problem-solving. I am excited about teaching every day because I know I am sharing my passion for this amazing subject with my students," stated Vaidyanathan.
Fremont Union High School District
Subjects Taught: Intro to Engineering Design and AP Statistics
"I love helping students to see the real-life power of those two subjects and how they are so much more than sitting and crunching numbers. I enjoy going to work every day because I can see the growth of my students and get to use my creative abilities in my efforts to get them excited about the possibilities that math and engineering can open for them in their own lives," stated Koning.
Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District
Subjects Taught: Robotics, Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering
"In my class, students get to learn at their level. My engineering students come in at all different levels; some students come in already having learned many engineering skills, but many haven't. Regardless of their starting level, their grade is based upon their effort and individual growth. It's satisfying for students to know that if they work hard, they will learn, and they will get a good grade," stated Coppelli.
East Side Union High School District
Subjects Taught: AP Biology, Science Research
"Biology is a gateway to other STE(A)M and critical thinking which includes predicting cell interactions, calculating population dynamics, engineering biomedical devices, and ultimately incorporating creativity to propose (and implement!) solutions to real-world problems. Students who are inspired by the field of biology will likely end up working in jobs that do not currently exist because of dynamic developments in technologies and new ways to build a body of knowledge, and for that ultimate reason, I am enthusiastic about my subject," stated Claudio.
This year, three exemplary teachers were selected as recipients of the Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union Arts Leadership Award. This award honors those special instructors in Santa Clara County public schools who students to enjoy and excel in arts, languages, creative writing, and literature programs.
Each applicant, nominated by their respective principals, was subjected to a rigorous application process. A panel of experts reviewed this year's candidates.
Each Arts Leadership award winner will receive a cash award of $500 from Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union. They also have an opportunity to attend a free professional development course offered by the Santa Clara County Office of Education.
The 2019 honorees are:
Guadalupe M. Cruz
Alum Rock Union School District
Subject Taught: Fifth Grade
"When I was growing up, I would have been categorized as an “intensive” student. School was never easy for me. For this reason, I try to give my students many opportunities for learning. For example, when I am introducing a new concept in math, I incorporate videos, visuals, chants and songs, and manipulatives. I try to teach them different strategies in solving problems. I explain to them that it’s okay to count with their fingers if they need to and that it’s okay to make mistakes. I want them to fell successful and have a growth mindset," stated Cruz.
Subject Taught: Visual Art
"Art is one of the few subjects where language isn’t a barrier to success. Currently I have three students who do not speak English and they are able to thrive by watching and doing. Visual art also allows students to communicate to audiences that may not speak the same language as them, or to their families who may not speak the same language that is dominant in school. Students can create a work of art that expresses an emotion or an idea and that can be understood by the people who view it," stated Finnen.
Milpitas Unified School District
Subject Taught: Intro to Theatre, Theatre Arts, Theatre Workshop, Theatre Design & Technology
"I share my passion for theatre with my students because it has so many lessons about life and by sharing it, I get to see lives change. It is an amazing gift to provide a space where students find their voices, overcome their shyness, gain confidence, and become more effective communicators. Every day, it is my privilege to nurture my students’ creativity, feed their zest for life, and teach them about collaboration in a way they don’t experience in other classes," stated Schwartz.
This year, two exemplary teachers were selected as recipients of the Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union Civic Engagement Award. This award honors those special instructors in Santa Clara County public schools who students to enjoy and excel in arts, languages, creative writing, and literature programs.
Each Civic Engagement award winner will receive a cash award of $500 from Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union. They also have an opportunity to attend a free professional development course offered by the Santa Clara County Office of Education.
The 2019 honorees are:
Palo Alto Unified School District
Subject Taught: Contemporary World History and Government
"The social studies curriculum stays constant and relative to students lives; whether it be controversy surrounding immigration, an improbable election outcome, or international tension which re-writes the curriculum in real time. I find social studies exhilarating, exciting, current, and applicable to all lives—what makes me “enthusiastic” is the opportunity to connect the content to every student’s life, every day," stated Miller.
Oak Grove School District
Subject Taught: Fifth to Eighth Grade Social Studies
"I enjoy teaching social studies because of the opportunities it provides for personal connections and building community. I am enthusiastic about my subject because I can engage students in critical inquiry on the choices made by historical figures and self-reflect on how these personal choices can impact our lives," stated McMillan.
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About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 21 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.