On November 20, Delaine Eastin, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, named Virginia Avila as California's nominee for the National Teacher of the Year. One of five Teachers of the Year for the State of California, Avila is a teacher at Grant High School and was also honored in September as a Sacramento County Teacher of the Year 2003.
"We 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."
This is the first year that California has also named alternate Teachers of the Year: Jim Jordan and Sharon Roxburgh. "I 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."
Sharon Roxburgh is an instructor at Dr. Juliet Thorner School in Bakersfield. Jim Jordan, an English and journalism teacher at Del Campo High School in the San Juan Unified School District, was also recognized in September as a Sacramento County Teacher of the Year 2003. He sees his role as being similar to that of a coach: he pushes students beyond the limits of what they think they can achieve.
The State Board of Education will formally recognize the new California Teachers of the Year at a banquet in January 2003. Avila will have to wait until spring 2003, however, for the announcement of the National Teacher of the Year, a program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
California State Teachers of the Year
- Virginia Avila, Grant Joint Union High School District, Sacramento County
(California nominee for National Teacher of the Year)
- Anne Marie Bergen, Oakdale Joint Unified School District, Stanislaus County
- Connie Baumgardt Blackburn, Escondido Union School District, San Diego County
- Christopher Mullin, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District, Santa Barbara County
- Tamara Thornell, Oxnard Elementary School District, Ventura County