Language, Speech and Hearing Specialist Patti Buckholz was well-prepared for her meeting today with a prospective new student and family—but not expecting a surprise meeting with administrators congratulating her as the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) 2017 Teacher of the Year.
Buckholz works with SCOE's youngest students: babies and toddlers with speech, language, and hearing impairments who are enrolled in the Infant Development Program. She earned both her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology and her Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders from CSU Fresno. A resident of Rocklin, she has a Clinical Rehabilitation Services Credential and a California license in Speech-Language Pathology.
Her place of work is not within a traditional classroom, but in the homes of infants and children requiring her services. Among her students are those with speech-language delays, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, unilateral and bilateral hearing loss, feeding disorders, selective mutism, childhood apraxia of speech, cleft palate, genetic disorders, and tracheostomies. As a team, she and other Infant Development Program staff help their young students with appropriate therapies and also teach the parents—the primary caregivers of their child—specific strategies and skills to support the development of their child.
Joining Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon in making the announcement was Infant Development Program Director Andrea Lemos, Ed.D. "Ms. Buckholz thinks with families in a reflective way and provides strategies for the family to continue with their child during their everyday routines when she is not present," Lemos said. "She is a professional, knowledgeable, supportive, and integral member of the Infant Development Program team, and she is highly respected by colleagues and families."
Buckholz, a SCOE employee since 1998, has twice been honored as Certificated Employee of the Month. She was one of 11 teachers nominated to compete for the honor of being SCOE 2017 Teacher of the Year.
Since 1988, SCOE has celebrated its teachers and the important work they do by selecting a SCOE Teacher of the Year. (A historical listing of past SCOE Teachers of the Year is available online.) SCOE teachers are nominated to compete by parents, staff, management, or their peers. The nominees go through a selection process, answering written questions and being formally interviewed. Teachers report that this process helps them see their many accomplishments—that they come away with a renewed sense of dedication and a reminder of why they entered the teaching profession.
Buckholz will be honored September 16, 2016—along with teachers representing other Sacramento County school districts—at the annual Teachers of the Year awards banquet. During the ceremony, two teachers will be named the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2017 and will become eligible to compete in the California Teachers of the Year Program.