ACSA honors Valley administrators and teachers of the year

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The BESD Teachers of the Year Gail Zeigler, Adrianna Guerrero, and Maria Flores.

EL CENTRO — Close to 300 people attended a dinner and awards ceremony as the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) honored Imperial Valley teachers and administrators Thursday during the annual Teacher and Administrator of the Year Awards Night at the Old Eucalyptus School House in El Centro.

ACSA President Renato Montano said those educators awarded this honor demonstrate a dedication and commitment to their profession and the education of their students.

“This is an opportunity for us to recognize our outstanding educators in the Imperial Valley,” said Montano. “Specifically, it is to recognize administrators and teachers who exhibit exemplary characteristics of an educational hero.”

During the ceremony, ACSA honored two Administrators of the Year, four retiring administrators, and 15 Teachers of the Year. Each of the individuals chosen has demonstrated a strength and leadership in their school site that helps students learn, according to organizers. They were also recognized for being there for their students if the they have any questions, and are dedicated educators, even after school hours.

“As a teacher, we know that at the end of the day, our students’ success is through us, but the appreciation from friends, coworkers, and the community, the acknowledgement is

Francisco Ramirez displays his Wilson Junior High Warriors spirit.

priceless,” said Rosa Martinez Lopez from Dool Elementary School in Calexico.

“It’s nice to see educators be honored,” said Francisco Ramirez, a recipient from Wilson Junior High in El Centro. “There are so many hats that we are asked to wear, and on a daily basis we are asked to sacrifice so much for our youth.”

Four of the nominees were from Brawley Union High School and the Brawley Elementary School District. They were Gracie Tomboc from Brawley Union High, Maria Flores and Adrianna Guerrero from Miguel Hidalgo, and Gail Zeigler from Phil Swing Elementary School.

“I just couldn’t believe it, I would never have thought I would be teacher of the year,” said Flores.

“Teaching is such a selfless job,” said Tomboc. “You put your kids first and you have that passion and put your heart into it. When you get something like this, that’s when you pull back and think, ‘I have done something right to get here!’”

Central Union High School staff and family members cheer on Steven Balcom as he receives his Teacher of the Year award Thursday night.

Montano said the organization gets 30 to 40 nominations each year for the Teacher of the Year award. These are all nominations from school site supervisors, including principals and vice principals, from within Imperial Valley. Those who were not chosen this year still have a chance in the future to be an ACSA nominee, and the 2017 nominees also have a chance at being nominated again in a later year.

The mission of the ACSA is to support California’s educational leaders; to ensure all children have the essential skills and knowledge needed to excel; and to champion public education, according to its website. ACSA of Imperial Valley is part of Region 18 with San Diego County.