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CUSD announces Teachers of The Year in Surprise Ceremonies

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – On Friday, March 6, Wendy Washington, an English teacher at San Clemente High School; Jennifer Jacobson, an English Language Development and Theatre Arts teacher from Aliso Viejo Middle School; and Melissa Washington, a Kindergarten/First Grade teacher from Laguna Niguel Elementary School received notification of their selections as Capistrano Unified School District’s Teachers of the Year during surprise announcements at their respective schools. The Teachers of the Year were honored for their extraordinary service in front of their students, colleagues, loved ones and District officials.

Washington, Jacobson and Washington were selected for the District-wide recognition among the Teachers of the Year at each of the District’s 56 school sites and programs. They will be formally recognized at the District’s annual Teacher of the Year Celebration at Soka University in Aliso Viejo on Thursday, April 23 and will represent CUSD at the 2015 Orange County Department of Education Teachers of the Year program later this year.

“We are extremely proud of our three Teachers of the Year,” said Lynn Hatton-Hodson, President of the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees. “Each of them has had truly profound impacts on the lives of countless students over the years and their commitment to educating and providing guidance to these young people embodies the core values and priorities of Capistrano Unified School District.”

Sally White, President of the Capistrano Unified Education Association, which evaluates the Teachers of the Year nominations with Capistrano Unified School District, expressed her respect and admiration for this year’s honorees. “The diversity of experience, the creativity, and the dedication that our three Teachers of the Year have brought into our schools and into the lives of our students is inspiring. I am so proud of each of them and grateful to have them as CUSD teachers.”

CUSD employs about 2,200 teachers at 56 school sites who average more than 15 years of experience in education. More than 60 percent of the District’s teachers have earned graduate degrees – a 20 percent higher rate than the statewide average. Superintendent Kirsten M. Vital attributes this to the value Capistrano Unified School District teachers and administrators place on lifetime learning and professional excellence. “CUSD teachers love their students and their schools,” said Vital, “and they are committed to providing their students with the best possible education and support to prepare them for college and successful careers.  They feel a deep commitment to all students and our community,” Vital continued, and I believe these teachers are strong examples of the incredible learning that goes on in all classrooms every day in CUSD."


Friday, March 6, 2015



7:45 - 8:15 a.m.

Laguna Niguel Elementary School
27922 Niguel Heights Blvd., Laguna Niguel

TOY Recipient: Melissa Washington

Principal: Michelle Moore

8:45 - 9:15 a.m.

Aliso Viejo Middle School

111 Park Avenue, Aliso Viejo

TOY Recipient: Jennifer Jacobson

Principal: Jennifer Smalley

9:35 - 10:00 a.m.

San Clemente High School

700 Avenida Pico, San Clemente

TOY Recipient: Wendy Washington

Principal: Michael Halt

***Media photo opportunity and interview availability following surprise presentations

Posted by: Tania Cluttey, District Admin, Capistrano Unified School District Published:3/6/15
Audience: Homepage, K-8 Schools News Group, Elementary School News Group, Homepage, High School News Group and Middle School News Group

Non-Discrimination Statement

The Capistrano Unified School District prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying in all district activities, programs, and employment based upon actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, color, religion, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, sex, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Reference: AR 1312.3, BP 1312.3 and BP 5183.

Rich Montgomery, Executive Director, Human Resource Services/Compliance
33122 Valle Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 234-9200

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