Kevin Jordan likes to get his hands dirty at work. Unlike most teachers, his classroom is filled with bags of potting soil and gardening tools. As the Nursery and Landscape Instructor for the Sustainable Environments Learning Academy at Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School, dirt is a part of his daily routine as he introduces students to landscape architecture, environmental design, and engineering.
Today, as Jordan was preparing to teach a lesson about strawberries, he got an unexpected visit from Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon, who had a surprise announcement: Jordan has been named the newest Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Teacher of the Year.
“For me, it feels a little undeserved, but it definitely feels nice to be recognized. There’s a ton of wonderful teachers. I’m just happy to be a teacher, let alone be recognized,” said Jordan when asked about the honor.
Superintendent Gordon talked about how the SCOE teacher has grown the program, saying, “He’s introduced kids to science through horticulture, potential jobs through horticulture, but mostly being hands-on with the kids, teaching them about responsibility, working hard, doing good work, and being good team members.”
Jordan was one of the teachers who was nominated to compete this year for the honor of being SCOE 2023 Teacher of the Year. He has worked for SCOE since 2009, and was previously honored as the September 2011 Certificated Employee of the Month. The teacher has a bachelor’s degree in geography from California State University, Sacramento, along with a Career Technical Education teaching credential.
Since 1988, SCOE has celebrated its teachers and the important work they do by selecting a SCOE Teacher of the Year. SCOE teachers are nominated by parents, staff, management, or peers. The nominees go through a selection process, answering written questions and being formally interviewed. Teachers report that this process helps them recognize their many accomplishments, coming away with a renewed sense of dedication and a reminder about why they entered the teaching profession.
Next Step: County Competition
As the SCOE Teacher of the Year, Kevin Jordan is now eligible to move on to the countywide competition. He will be honored—along with teachers representing other Sacramento County school districts—during a Sacramento County Teachers of the Year ceremony (details to be determined). Two teachers will be named as the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2023 and will become eligible to compete at the state level.
About Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School
Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School educates students with the primary disability of Emotional Disturbance (ED) in grades 7–12. The students are referred directly by local school districts unable to provide the more highly structured behavioral support program available at Palmiter. Students are provided a standards-based educational program supported by a strong vocational/transitional/school-to-world emphasis.