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At least two California school districts chose to honor all their educators as Teachers of the Year recently, due to the extraordinary work done during the last year and a half by — well, everyone.

On Aug. 16, the Pomona Unified School District Board of Education passed a proclamation recognizing their 1,600 certificated educators as 2021-22 Teachers of the Year, including teachers, nurses, psychologists, counselors, speech-language pathologists and librarians. Superintendent Richard Martinez thanked Associated Pomona Teachers (APT) President Manuela Echeverria for “representing certificated members and for keeping kids first.”

“It was an APT idea, and then a collaborative effort with the district,” says Echeverria, adding that APT works with the district every year to select the Teacher of the Year. “We had to keep on top of this to make sure the district came through with the proclamation.”

The Irvine Teachers Association (ITA) also participates in selecting Irvine Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year. Last spring, ITA’s then-President Tori Sorey, along with an assistant superintendent, came up with the notion to honor all 1,700 TK-12 educators at a virtual school board meeting. The effort influenced APT to do the same later in the year.

“ITA and the district decided not to vote for the usual Site Teachers of Excellence and District Teachers of the Year, instead working with the PTA to honor every educator in light of the exceptional creativity, hard work and dedication that our members demonstrated, whether returning to teach in person or working in a virtual program,” says Sorey. Sorey worked with PTA presidents on a plan for all teachers to receive notes from students or parents to express their appreciation.

Congratulations all around!

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