Daniel Watts expected just another staff meeting when Principal Linda Mitchell called him in for a chat on June 11. Little did the graphic arts teacher know that he was walking into a celebration in his honor. The celebration was to announce that Watts has been chosen as the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Teacher of the Year 2009.
Watts, a Roseville resident, is a Juvenile Court Schools teacher at SCOE's Carson Creek Jr./Sr. High School campus where he works with detained, at-risk students. Carson Creek is located within the Sacramento County Boys Ranch juvenile facility operated by the Sacramento County Probation Department.
"Daniel Watts brings enthusiasm and creativity into the classroom and shares his knowledge and enthusiasm with others. In addition to good teaching skills in the classroom, he works to bring about and implement cutting-edge Career-Technical Education curriculum and projects for our students," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon.
"It feels great to be recognized for the innovative work being done in the classroom with our students," Watts said. "I am very excited about this opportunity."
In his graphic arts classes, Watts has a weekly art contest where students compete for prizes. The contest teaches students how to work together successfully. He also developed a student teaching assistant program allowing students to earn the right to assist in the classroom while learning leadership skills and responsibility.
"Daniel has a gift working with the very at-risk students in the Regional Occupational Program Computer Graphics Program at Carson Creek," said Principal Mitchell. "He connects with their creativity and interweaves leadership, social development, collaboration, self-respect, and hope throughout the graphic arts curriculum."
Watts developed an entrepreneur program with his class that provides graphic arts design services to SCOE staff and the public. The program and its students have created logos for several SCOE campuses and projects.
In addition, students in the Carson Creek graphic arts class now benefit from a partnership with The Arts Institute of Sacramento. Every three months, a representative from the institute visits with students, makes presentations, and talks about career opportunities in digital media and design.
Watts will be honored, along with teachers representing other Sacramento County school districts, at the annual Teachers of the Year Awards dinner, which will be held on Wednesday, September 3, 2008.
The Sacramento County Teachers of the Year Program is presented by SCOE in partnership with Maloof Sports and Entertainment, the Intel Corporation Folsom and the Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry.