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SD County Office of Education names five 2020-21 Teachers of the Year

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Five local educators representing schools from Del Mar, Ramona, Valley Center, central San Diego and Lakeside were named San Diego County's Teachers of the Year Tuesday, Aug. 25 by the county's Office of Education.

The teachers are: Arah Allard, Del Mar Hills Elementary School, Del Mar Union School District; Christine Hill, Ramona High School, Ramona Unified School District; Jose Melo, Valley Center Middle School, Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District; Paula Richardson, Wilson Middle School, San Diego Unified School District; and Jay Tweet, El Capitan High School, Grossmont Union High School District.

They will be honored formally during the 30th annual ``Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers,'' which will air as a pre-recorded show on Nov. 21 on Cox's YurView network.

``While the teaching environment has changed over the last several months, the impact that teachers have on their students and on society has not.

In fact, the need for learning and connection is even more critical as we confront this pandemic,'' Superintendent Paul Gothold said. ``San Diego County teachers have risen to the challenge and continue providing students with the academic, social, and emotional supports they need to be successful now, and in the future. They are highly skilled, passionate and determined individuals, and we are honored to recognize and celebrate them.''

The honorees were notified via video chat by Gothold, their district superintendents, and their principals.

In addition to recognizing the five county teachers of the year, the Salute to Teachers show in November will delve into the learning environment during COVID-19, feature highlights from the show's past 30 years of honoring the teaching profession and demonstrate how community partners support education across San Diego County.

``The pandemic has highlighted just how dedicated San Diego County's teachers are to their students and their profession, and we want to continue to

shine the spotlight on how amazing they are,'' said Sam Attisha, vice president and region manager for Cox Communications. ``We are excited to be able to capture the passion, creativity, and innovation of our county's teachers.''

According to the county office, the teachers were chosen from among 40 nominees who were selected by their districts for their commitment to students, teaching and lifelong learning.

The winners were selected following review of their applications and interviews by a panel of former county teachers of the year, school and county office of education administrators and a parent representative. They were chosen based on ``student progress, school-community involvement, teaching philosophy, knowledge of current issues and trends in education, promotion and development of the teaching profession, school culture and ability to serve as ambassadors of education.''

The five teachers will represent San Diego County in the California Teacher of the Year program. The state winners will be announced later this fall.

Since 1974, 181 teachers have been named San Diego County Teacher of the Year. Of those, 22 were named California Teacher of the Year and three went on to be named National Teacher of the Year.


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