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Scottish Rite Honors County Teachers of the Year 2017

Public Schools Month Serves as Opportunity to Recognize Teachers

Nichole Harshbarger, Tony Russell, and George Helms
​County Teachers of the Year ​Nichole Harshbarger and George Helms with Scottish Rite representative Tony Russell.

Nichole Harshbarger, a 1st grade teacher from Kingswood K-8 (San Juan U.S.D.), and George Helms, a 1st grade teacher from Arnold Adreani Elementary School (Elk Grove U.S.D.), were honored by the Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry at a special event on April 18. The two Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2017 spoke to the gathering about what inspires them, what keeps them passionate and focused on their students.

Harshbarger shared that she had read people typically change careers 7–11 times in their lifetime. She could not imagine changing careers. Who would want to give up the chance to help educate the leaders of tomorrow?

Helms shared that he had a student in the first class he taught who influenced how he approached every class since then. Both teachers talked about how gratifying it was when students have a "light bulb moment" where they get a concept being taught.

Harshbarger and Helms were each presented with a commemorative trophy by representatives from the Scottish Rite. Historically, the Grand Master of Freemasons for the State of California has declared April as Public Schools Month each year. The tradition started in 1920 when Public Schools Week was first introduced, later becoming Public Schools Month. It has been an annual tradition ever since. Public Schools Month supports quality public education that is free to all citizens, and emphasizes public education as a fundamental asset in our country.

On April 23, the Sacramento County District Teachers of the Year 2017 will be honored at a Teacher Appreciation game when the Sacramento River Cats host the Las Vegas 51s at Raley Field. On March 11, before thousands of cheering and supportive fans, the teachers were also honored on center court at the new Golden One arena during the Sacramento Kings/Denver Nuggets game.

This year, the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year program is presented by SCOE in partnership with the Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry.