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News Release: Teachers of the Year

News Release - San Diego Unified Honors Teachers of the Year, Celebrates all Teachers
Posted on 05/05/2020

San Diego Unified Honors Teachers of the Year, Celebrates all Teachers

May 5, 2020

SAN DIEGO - Coinciding with Day of the Teacher and National Teacher Appreciation Week, the San Diego Unified School District will honor its 2020 Teachers of the Year while celebrating its some 6,000 teachers throughout the week.

Three outstanding educators have been named San Diego Unified Teachers of the Year at the elementary, middle and high school levels for 2020. Three Teacher of the Year runners-up, and teachers selected as Teachers of the Year by their individual schools, will also be recognized this week.

“Now more than ever, we appreciate the contributions teachers make in the classroom and throughout the entire community,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “San Diego Unified has extraordinary teachers who have demonstrated their dedication, creativity and innovation these past few weeks during our Distance Learning launch. I would like to thank each one of our teachers for everything they do for our students, our families and for our city.”

San Diego Unified will celebrate its Teachers of the Year on its website and with video tributes on social media. 

The Teachers of the Year are: Kelly Ann Young, who teaches grades 4/5 at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary; Paula Richardson, who teaches music in grades 6, 7, 8 at Wilson Middle School; and Deirdre Fabian, who teaches adapted physical education at Morse High School.

In addition to the three Teachers of the Year, three runners-up were also selected. The runners-ups are Melissa Taleb from Language Academy, Erica Soto from DePortola Middle School and Jill Schenk from San Diego High School SciTech.

The announcement of the Teachers of the Year is made in conjunction with the National Day of the Teacher on Tuesday, May 5, and Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8.

All three Teachers of the Year are available for media interviews. Here is more information and videos about this year’s winners. 

  • Kelly Ann Young: has dedicated herself to the students in the community where she grew up and continues to live. In her 11tth year of teaching in San Diego Unified, she has developed the philosophy that every effective educator creates learning opportunities for all students who walk through the classroom door at Lindbergh Schweitzer. She states her greatest contribution has been building a classroom community that extends beyond the four-walls of where she teaches and into the community where she lives. https://youtu.be/h1gTaSRl6Yw
  • Paula Richardson: Paula believes it is important that she practices what she preaches. As a music teacher, she is also a musician. In her 13 years at Wilson Middle School, she has expanded the music program to all grade levels, written and received grants and started a Mariachi Ensemble. She states her most important contribution is her passion to provide meaningful music experiences to all students. https://youtu.be/cYEr3Uhi9-E
  • Deirdre Fabian: Deirdre began her teaching career in rural North Carolina. With 29 years of teaching experience, her personal teaching philosophy focuses on putting the students first and creating a teaching environment that allows all students to grow physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. She says her most significant experience is becoming a special education teacher; she absolutely loves this population and the Morse community.  https://youtu.be/A0TXO09na4k

The selection process for district Teachers of the Year is extensive. It begins at the school where nominees are first selected as their school’s Teacher of the Year. These individuals have the option to apply for district Teacher of the Year, a process that includes written essays, interviews and classroom observations. The 2020 Teacher of the Year winners and runners-up were selected by an eight-member committee composed of previous district Teachers of the Year and runners-up. The selection process was completed March 11, the week before schools closed. All district winners and runners-up have the opportunity to apply for the San Diego County Teacher of the Year award program.

  • San Diego Unified’s Teacher of the Year Celebration would not be possible without the generous support from sponsors: California Coast Credit Union, California Schools VEBA, Mission Federal Credit Union, North Island Credit Union, San Diego Education Association, San Diego Education Fund

Media Contact: Communications Director, Maureen Magee: (619) 381-7930. 

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