SAN JOSE, CA – This week, three Santa Clara County educators were named as county candidates for the 2019 State Teacher of the Year Competition.
Each year, potential candidates are selected through the county-wide District Teacher of the Year Program. Fully credentialed teachers who have taught for more than eight years and who are interested in the state program, undergo a rigorous application and adjudication process during their summer break. A five-person panel of judges representing education professionals in varying areas of expertise review and rank the applications which are then certified by County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Ann Dewan.
The adjudication committee stated, "This year was particularly challenging. Each application was well-written, and each of the educators deserves recognition, but after careful consideration, three educators emerged."
"There is so much great work happening for students in our Santa Clara County public schools. I am inspired by the work of each teacher and I am looking forward to celebrating their accomplishments on stage at the 49th annual Teacher Recognition Celebration to be held on Monday, October 22 at the Heritage Theatre in Campbell," stated Dewan.
"My hope for my students is that my classroom is a place of warmth, acceptance, respect and high expectations. The most important part of teaching to me is that my students want to come to school each day and look forward to coming back. I work hard to plan engaging lessons and create an environment of risk taking and a love of learning. During my credential program, I remember a professor speaking about the profound impact that teachers can have on a student each day. How we have the power to lift up a student and model compassion and patience or the complete opposite. This message truly guides my instruction and practice on a daily basis. I feel that teaching is a calling to serve and I am so proud to be part of this profession." – Kimberly Dinsdale
With a background in sales and marketing, Dinsdale came to teaching as a second career. Her two children compelled her to go into teaching. Modeling best practices and serving as a professional role model have been the hallmarks of her teaching career.
According to her colleague Theresa Hull, a first-grade teacher at Guadalupe Elementary, "Her passion for the career never ends when the children walk out the door, and this is evident to all parents, teachers, and students who engage with her. Children are very lucky to be part of her classroom environment!"
"Teaching, without a doubt, is the most rewarding profession! I wanted to be a teacher since I was in kindergarten and my dream came true. I still remember my very first teacher who instilled the love of learning in me, and from that moment I knew I wanted to do the same for others! I love teaching, and it is mostly because of my willingness and desire to change and try new things. Change pushes us to reflect on our own practices and get out of our comfort zones. A true teacher is a lifelong learner. It is important to continue to build a wealth of professional knowledge. I constantly take additional courses and attend workshops and conferences to exchange ideas and theories and learn more effective teaching practices. I get so excited when I learn something new that I can try in my classroom with my own students." – Julie Kwok
Julie has taught for 22 years, 17 years in Saratoga Union School District. Her most important accomplishments in education are the strong relationships she has developed with her students and families, instilling in her students a love of learning, and giving them the tools they need to become kind, compassionate, contributing citizens of the world.
"She is one of those rare veteran teachers who exudes an ever-fresh, genuinely warm, exuberant and knowledgeable classroom presence that inspires and equips her young students every day," said Nancy Johnson, Superintendent of Saratoga Union School District.
"I have high expectations for my students, and they frequently meet those expectations. I believe that the only limitations that exist in this world worth worrying about are the limitations that we impose on ourselves. There is always room for improvement. There is always a chance to start afresh. There always exists the possibility to reach greater heights than we ever imagined. I believe in providing my students with a forum to express themselves, and a safe space for them to tell their stories, speak their truths, and develop their self-esteem. All of my Theatre classes and rehearsals run as they would run in a professional theatre, using techniques and activities I learned while in the business," – Kaila Schwartz
Kaila Schwartz transitioned into teaching theatre after working as an actor and director. Her greatest sense of accomplishment comes from hearing about her students' successes. She has an increasing number of students pursuing careers in film, television, and theatre, and one student became Mayor. Kaila is honored to have played a small part in nurturing their passion and cultivating their talent.
"Ms. Schwartz brings out the best in our students, and they benefit from her Theater Programs. She provides an opportunity for her students to grow in confidence and shine. I have seen a link between students learning about the arts from Ms. Schwartz and pushing ahead in their academics, both in the brain development and by feeling a sense of accomplishment giving them the momentum to keep going," said Jennifer J. Hutchison, Assistant Principal at Milpitas High School.
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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 23 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.