San Diego County 2022-23 Teachers of the Year Announced

Five Profile Photos of San Diego County's 2022-23 Teachers of the Year

Five local educators representing schools in Del Mar, National City, Poway, San Ysidro and Chula Vista were named San Diego County Teachers of the Year. The winners were announced at a reception Friday night as part of the 32nd annual “Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers,” presented by the San Diego County Credit Union in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). .

San Diego County’s 2022-23 Teachers of the Year are:

  • Stephanie Cluxton, Torrey Hills School, Del Mar Union School District
  • Jacqueline MaLincoln Acres Elementary, National School District
  • Aimee McCoyMesa Verde Middle School, Poway Unified School District
  • Juanita NunezOcean View Hills, Sunset, Smythe, Willow, and La Mirada Elementary Schools, San Ysidro School District
  • Melissa is rainingCastle Park Middle School, Sweetwater Union School District

“Teaching has always been a challenging, yet rewarding profession. The past few years have really tested us and through it all, teachers across the county have continued to persevere and ensure our students are cared for and have all the support they need to succeed,” said Dr. Paul Gothold, of San Diego County. director of schools. “The teachers we celebrate here tonight are innovative in what they do and passionate about the students they serve. It is an honor to recognize these incredible educators and individuals.

The five Teachers of the Year will represent San Diego County in the California Teacher of the Year program. State winners will be announced next month.

In partnership with SDCOE, Cox Communications will produce a one-hour TV special “Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers” to recognize local teachers, spotlight Teachers of the Year and share reception highlights. The show, hosted by the Food Network personality and San Diego Magazine owner Troy Johnson, will air at 9 p.m. on October 2 on YurView Network (Cox Channel 4) and will be replayed multiple times throughout October and November.

“Cox is proud of our 31-year partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education to recognize our local public school teachers. Their commitment to their students, especially during the pandemic, has been impressive,” said Ingo Hentschel, senior vice president and regional manager of Cox Communications. “‘Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers'” is a way for the community to say “thank you” to our teachers, and we are delighted to recognize their passion for teaching, their dedication to their students and their creativity in the classroom.

“The SDCCU is proud to support this outstanding awards event celebrating the extraordinary work of teachers and educators who impact our community and our students,” said SDCCU President and CEO Teresa Campbell. “As the Presenting Sponsor of Tribute to Teachers, we recognize all teachers for their hard work and commitment to education and shaping the future of today’s youth. »

The county’s 2022-23 Teachers of the Year were chosen from 40 teachers nominated by their school districts for their commitment to students, teaching and lifelong learning. The winners were selected based on a review of their nominations and interviews by a panel consisting of former County Teachers of the Year, the Office of District and County Education Administrators and a representative of the PTA. They were chosen on the basis of their school and community involvement, their teaching philosophy, their knowledge of current educational issues and trends, the promotion and development of the teaching profession, school culture and their ability to serve as ambassadors of education.

Since 1974, 191 teachers have been named San Diego County Teacher of the Year. Of these, 23 were named California Teacher of the Year and three were named National Teacher of the Year.

In addition to the show’s producers, Cox Communications and the San Diego County Office of Education, supporters of “Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers” include San Diego County Credit Union’s title sponsor, Feeding San Diego. , Procopio, iHeart Radio, KPBS, Meritage, The Mightier 1090 and The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Brief biographies of San Diego County’s five Teachers of the Year are included below along with testimonials, and photos can be found in this google folder. You can view a full list of the 40 nominees here from which the five County Teachers of the Year were selected.

Stephanie Cluxton, Kindergarten, Torrey Hills School, Del Mar Union School District
Stephanie Cluxton, a kindergarten teacher at Torrey Hills School (Del Mar Union School District), strives to create a classroom environment where students take ownership of their learning, deepen their curiosity, and discover their gifts. She believes in teaching and engaging the whole child, seeing academics and social-emotional learning as equally important. Her connections with students and families go beyond the classroom to provide the best possible experiences for the young learners in her class.

“When you meet Stephanie, you instantly feel warm and fuzzy inside. Her enthusiasm, love and passion for teaching and for her students radiates. My eldest daughter had her in 2020 when things are abruptly transitioned from normal in-person to remote learning In a time of great uncertainty Stephanie’s calm voice echoing over Zoom calls comforted both students and parents She handled remote learning gracefully , connecting with kindergarten children and their families in unimaginable circumstances. It was then that we truly felt like she was part of our family. Her kindness, cheerfulness and unparalleled patience are qualities whom I greatly admire.”
Lauren, Parent, Torrey Hills School

Jacqueline Ma, 6th grade, Lincoln Acres Elementary, National School District
Jacqueline Ma is a 6th grade teacher at Lincoln Acres Elementary in National City, part of the National School District. She considers the relationships she has with her students to be her greatest accomplishments. She led a school-wide STEM improvement plan, involving outside organizations — including the Salk Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Fleet Science Center, and San Diego Zoo — and offering students students the opportunity to interact with professionals doing the work to better visualize a path to a rewarding STEM career.

“I cannot imagine a more qualified and passionate educator to receive this honor. The creativity, initiative, collaboration and 100% dedication that Ms. Ma has for her students and the school is immeasurable. When the students leave Ms. Ma’s room, they are more confident students, more engaged citizens, and more thoughtful teenagers who know they are loved.
Kathy Melanese, Principal, Lincoln Acres Elementary

Aimee McCoy, Grade 8 Social Studies and AVID, Mesa Verde Middle School, Poway Unified School District
Aimee McCoy is an 8th grade language arts teacher and AVID coordinator at Mesa Verde High School, located in the Poway Unified School District. She believes that allowing students to “feel valued by sharing and asking questions” is essential to the success of the whole class. She enjoys bringing the community to campus so students can experience the range of careers and educational paths they can pursue. His encouragement and instructions inspire his students and fellow educators.

“In our AVID class, we had a very diverse group of students from different backgrounds and abilities, but Ms. McCoy seemed to make time for each of us and seemed to connect and respect each student. This special connection Mrs. McCoy makes with her students meant that she was truly there for you when you were going through a tough time. It does not only focus on academics, but also on students and their well-being. Ms. McCoy is an incredible example of what a teacher should be: knowledgeable, fun, able to connect and a great mentor. I will always be grateful and admire him.
Callie, former student

Juanita Nuñez, Ocean View Hills, Sunset, Smythe, Willow, and La Mirada Elementary Schools, Grades 4-6 STEM/Physical Education, San Ysidro School District
Juanita Nuñez is a STEM and physical education teacher at five different schools in the San Ysidro School District. It engages 370 students each week in 80-minute “Sci-Phy” lessons, where a combination of science education and physical education is covered. Juanita grew up as the child of migrant farm workers and her early experiences made her a compassionate and inspiring educator. Those who know her say that Juanita devotes her heart, soul and mind to making learning fun and meaningful for her students.

“Juanita is the rare and beautiful type of human being who can combine both sides of the brain to teach students advanced subjects while having fun. She’s smart and capable of teaching robotics, but funny and charismatic at the same time. Her students love her and become friends with her. She teaches them life lessons along with lessons in science and technology. Her students return years later and put their finger on what they learned from her. Some of these important lessons are life lessons that have saved lives. She has the ability to build trust and bond with students. These students open up to her and she puts in endless hours supporting them and making sure they are in the right frame of mind. Once they are ready to learn, it takes them to advanced levels of rigor in science and technology. Ms. Nuñez’s students are lucky to have such a talented, intelligent and stimulating teacher.
Elva De Baca, Resource Teacher, San Ysidro School District

Melissa Rains, Grade 8 Science, Castle Park Middle School, Sweetwater Union School District
Students in the science class at Melissa Rains’ Castle Park Middle School (Sweetwater Union High School District) are greeted with a daily “question of the day” designed to gauge how they are feeling entering the classroom. The answers guide the first topic of conversation when class begins, and the group moves into a “mindfulness moment” before the day’s science lesson. Melissa believes her relationship with her students is the foundation from which they can explore and enjoy science.

“One step into Melissa’s class and you can feel the trust between the students and the mutual respect they share with their teacher. Melissa has mastered the art of being a “warm seeker,” the delicate balance between setting high expectations and having support in place for all students to achieve their highest potential. She has cultivated a culture and climate in her classroom that is exemplary of what all of us in education would like to see happen across the country.
Luis Lopez, TOSA Equity and Culture Program, Sweetwater Union High School District


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