At its October 25 meeting, the Sacramento County Board of Education recognized teacher Sharon Botkin as the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Teacher of the Year for 2007. Botkin was one of 16 Sacramento-area teachers who competed to be selected as Sacramento County Teacher of the Year.
A resident of Granite Bay, Botkin has been a teacher for 28 years. For the last five years, she has taught SCOE’s special education preschool students at Northview Preschool and the Sharon Neese Learning Center. Both schools are located at Sacramento Employment Training Agency (SETA) Head Start sites. Her students are young children, ages three to five years, with varying disabilities—such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, and visual and hearing impairments—and other health conditions. The children are fully included with their peers to help achieve their full learning potential.
Botkin works closely with the families of her young students, other education and health professionals, and community service efforts such as M.O.V.E. (Mobility Opportunities Via Education) to help bring about positive outcomes for her students. She is a M.O.V.E. site trainer and is working with staff to establish SCOE as a M.O.V.E. demonstration site. Her preschool program is also a California Department of Education SEEDS (Supporting Early Education Delivery Systems) visitation site that demonstrates best practices in including students with disabilities in typical preschool environments. She has served as a SEEDS core consultant and as a lecturer/teacher for Los Rios Community College District.
Botkin credits volunteer work she performed in her adolescent years as an inspiration for her career in special education. “I am most grateful to have found a calling for which I continue to have all the passion of youth, but now have the experience and training that allows me to work with children and families,” she said.
Principal Sharon Holstege nominated Botkin to be considered as a SCOE Teacher of the Year because of her fantastic teaching skills. “Sharon is able to quickly assess her students’ needs and then put into place the support and adaptations that allow her students to be successful,” the principal said. “Sharon never sees her job as working only with the child. She begins working with the family of her student to set the foundation for parent involvement in the child’s education. Sharon is a wonderful resource to the parents of her students.”
Marc and Linda Laver, parents of one of Sharon Botkin’s students, wrote in a letter of recommendation, “Sharon has been a great role model for other teachers and…provided an enriching and nurturing environment for our son and countless other students. Her vision and experience helped devise and administer…[our son’s] full inclusion placement, and she effectively carried out her teaching responsibilities with these goals in mind.”
Sharon Botkin was recognized at an awards banquet on September 6 where the two Sacramento County Teachers of the Year were announced. The 16 District Teachers of the Year for 2007 will also be honored during halftime of an upcoming Sacramento Kings game at ARCO Arena.