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2017 Teachers of the Year

2017 Teachers of the Year

Claudia Sanchez-Guevara, Vanessa Hart and Jean-Paul Balmat are San Diego Unified's 2017 Teachers of the Year.

The three were honored, along with runners up Robert Daluraya, Denise Tayco and Jaime Brown, and more than 130 teachers of the year from individual school sites, at the Day of the Teacher celebration at Patrick Henry High school.

Superintendent Cindy Marten joined Board of Education members, district leadership, school administrators, families and friends of teachers being recognized at the annual event.

The afternoon festivities started with a reception catered by the culinary arts students from Morse and Garfield high schools. The students prepared and served savory appetizers, such as pesto mozzarella pinwheels and Ensenada-style shrimp cocktail, and desserts like carrot cake and cinnamon mint cheese rollups. A string quartet from Patrick Henry provided entertainment.

The ceremony kicked off with a performance by The Preservationists, the award-winning jazz ensemble from Mission Bay High, under the direction of 2017 High School Teacher of the Year Jean-Paul Balmat. Patrick Henry High's Bel Canto Ensemble sang the National Anthem and the school's Navy JROTC presented the colors.

The recognition portion of the event began with a presentation by the San Diego Education Fund, who honored their 2017 Teacher and STEM Scholarship recipients. Teacher scholarship recipients plan to pursue a career in teaching and return to San Diego Unified following graduation. STEM scholarship recipients are pursuing degrees in the STEM fields.

Following the student presentation, the 2017 Teachers of the Year were recognized with awards and video tributes. Here's a little more about our honorees:

This year's winners are:

  • Claudia Sanchez-Guevara, fifth-grade, Bethune K-8. She had such an impact on her fourth-grade students, that they successfully petitioned to have her become their fifth grade teacher. There is little question Sanchez-Guevara has a tremendous impact on her students. She relates to them. She cares for them. She sets high expectations for them.
  • Vanessa Hart, six- and seventh-grade English, De Portola Middle. She strives to create a relaxed, fun environment so that students feel comfortable and aren't afraid to take risks with their learning. Hart uses a lot of historical fiction to fuel compassion, and will often turn lessons into games in order to motivate students to learn.
  • Jean-Paul Balmat, music teacher, Mission Bay High. He became a music teacher because of the influence his own music teacher had on him when he was a student at Mission Bay. If there was ever any doubt about the impact a teacher can have on a student, Balmat is proof. He shares his love of music with students and teaches them about more than just notes on a page. He teaches music concepts, leadership, respect and how to carry oneself like a professional musician.

This year's runners up are: Robert Daluraya, science prep, Hickman Elementary; Denise Tayco, seventh-grade science, Pershing Middle; and Jaime Brown, 12th-grade IB English and IB film, San Diego High School of International Studies.

All site teachers of the year had the opportunity to go on stage, say their name and be acknowledged for their dedication to the teaching profession.

The night concluded with the District Teachers of the Year receiving letters of recognition and gifts from local elected officials and from sponsors California Coast Credit Union, California Schools VEBA and Mission Federal Credit Union.

Sponsors of the Teacher of the Year event include: California Coast Credit Union, California Schools VEBA, eLiveLife.com, Mission Federal Credit Union, San Diego Education Association, San Diego Education Fund, San Diego Unified - College, Career and Technical Education, The San Diego Padres, The Standard, and the Art Institute of California - San Diego.

Video Tributes:

Claudia Sanchez-Guevara

Vanessa Hart

Jean-Paul Balmat

Media Coverage:

10 News

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