Educators Recognized for Instructional Excellence
A teacher who has twice earned National Board Certification, an award-winning orchestra instructor, and a science teacher who also coaches multiple sports have been named the 2014 Teachers of the Year in the Capistrano Unified School District.
Karen Gauthier, the National Board Certified Teacher from Chaparral Elementary School; Yeon Choi, the award-winning orchestra teacher at Niguel Hills Middle School; and Anthony Tubbs, the science teacher and sports coach at Tesoro High School, received notification of the honor during surprise announcements in front of their students, colleagues, and family members.
Gauthier, Choi, and Tubbs were selected from winners at 56 school sites and programs. The District winners will be recognized at the annual Teacher of the Year Celebration at Soka University in Aliso Viejo on Tuesday, April 22. The trio will represent CUSD in the 2014 Orange County Department of Education Teachers of the Year program.
CUSD employs about 2,200 teachers at 56 school sites. They average more than 15 years of experience in education and more than 60 percent have earned graduate degrees. A little more than 40 percent of teachers statewide have a graduate degree.
Last year’s Teachers of the Year were Stephany Rose, a kindergarten teacher from Kinoshita Elementary School; Paul Coppes, a special education resource specialist from Don Juan Avila Middle School; and Randy Hudson, a marine ecology and biology instructor from Dana Hills High School.
Gauthier, the elementary representative, began her career in the District at Oak Grove Elementary School in 1996. She moved to Chaparral in 2001, when she helped open that school. Gauthier earned her first National Board Certification in Early Childhood Education in 2002 and recertified in 2012. She has also served as an adjunct professor at the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education, where she taught courses in Language Acquisition/Language Arts Methods and Child and Adolescent Literature and Composition.
“Improving teaching comes from teachers that are willing to do whatever it takes to make a classroom a learning lab for themselves and their students,” Gauthier wrote in her application essay. “The solution is to foster learning communities among teachers. Teachers need to mentor, coach, and observe one another with the goal of continuous improvement of teaching practices that involve in-depth, systematic, and collaborative activities of professional development.”
Middle school winner Choi began her career in the District as an intern student teacher and instrumental music director at Newhart Middle School in 2006. In 2007, Choi was the instrumental and vocal music director at Arroyo Vista K-8 School. She became the orchestra music director at Niguel Hills in 2010.
“Being the manager for the honor groups provides the opportunity for my students to participate in higher performing ensembles. It also gives me the chance to work with highly skilled professionals in the industry,” Choi wrote in her application. “It also allows me to experience education instead of reading about good teaching. I strongly believe that a teacher should never stop learning new methods and skills to enhance the students’ learning.”
Anthony Alan Tubbs
Tubbs is the high school selection. He began his career in 1989 as a student teacher and coach in Santa Barbara and served for a year as a teacher and coach in Honduras. He moved to the District in 1996, where he taught science and physical education and coached baseball, football, basketball, and lacrosse. He has also implemented several projects including an aquaponics system, several gardens, engineering contests, and wildlife cameras.
In his application Tubbs wrote: “A wardrobe dominated by my school’s colors. A neighborhood populated with my students. A community saturated with our future shining stars… friends, teammates and classmates of my own four children. I live, work, and play as a “teacher ambassador” for CUSD. I take pride that I can have such a positive impact on our community as a whole.”