A South Los Angeles elementary school teacher and Tustin high school teacher were among five educators named today as 2013 California Teachers of the Year.
Veronica Marquez, a fifth-grade teacher at Harmony Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and David Goldenberg, a 10th-grade teacher at Arnold O. Beckman High School in the Tustin Unified School District, were chosen for their "skill, passion and dedication," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said.
Marquez has taught subjects such as Gifted and Talented Education, English Immersion and bilingual education. She has been at Harmony Elementary School since 2004, and previously taught at Trinity Elementary School.
"Ms. Marquez has made a remarkable journey as a child from the inner city and then decided to stay in her community to help lift other children out of lives of poverty and despair," Torlakson said. "She sees herself as a gardener who watches her students bloom under her leadership, and sees her students as scholars worthy of better lives."
Sylvia Salazar, principal of Harmony Elementary, called Marquez "one of the hidden gems of our school and the community."
Marquez will be honored next week at the LAUSD Board of Education meeting.
Goldenberg has taught advanced-placement and honors classes in world history at Beckman High since 2005. He previously taught world history at A.G. Currie Middle School.
"Mr. Goldenberg makes history come alive for his students that makes them feel engaged and eager to learn," Torlakson said. "He sees his career as a calling to serve his country in a profession that has meaning. Every school day, he teaches as if it's a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the lives of his students."
The other teachers of the year are Sebastien Paul de Clerck of Ventura High School, Martin Reisert of Oak Valley Middle School in San Diego County, and I'Asha Warfield of Oakland's Frick Middle School. Here's what Torlakson said of each of them:
- "Mr. De Clerck's passion for teaching foreign language is very evident in the way he interacts with his students. He not only respects his students, he knows they want to learn, and has high expectations for them in the classroom. His colleague, Dan Nelson, said it best, that De Clerck 'does not just close the achievement gap, he demolishes it' by the way he teaches."
- "Mr. Reisert became the wonderful teacher he is today by living through a challenging childhood and the joy of having a teacher who believed in him. He knows if he can instill a sense of confidence in his students, then they can succeed and change their lives for the better."
- "Ms. Warfield has an innovative way to ensure her students are learning, by having them write down their own daily learning targets. Then she uses these learning target sheets to evaluate whether the students master the lesson that also helps inform her of how well she is teaching. This constant cycle of evaluation keeps her students learning and keeps herself at the top of her game."
With contributions by KCET Staff