Lake County Honors Educators of the Year

December 05, 2017

From the Record-Bee, November 7, 2017, written by Tammy Murga - link to the article is http://www.record-bee.com/general-news/20171109/lake-county-honors-educators-of-the-year

KELSEYVILLE, CA (November 7, 2017) -  School districts across California counties gather every year to honor the best of the best and Lake County did so on Friday, November 3, crowning this year’s educators of the year. Two Middletown Unified School District members took two special awards: Lake County Teacher of the Year and Lake County Champion of Education.

The ceremony, which took place at the Boatique Winery in Kelseyville, marked the 23rd of its kind in a row, fully dubbed the Lake County Educator of the Year and Excellence in Education Awards Celebration.

Simply put, the name truly encompasses the meaning of the celebration. To further explain the immensity of the county’s education system, Lake County Office of Education Communications Coordinator Jill Ruzicka said.

“With approximately 10,000 students in grades K-12, education in Lake County has a direct impact on almost half of our population,” she added. “If you add into that number grandparents, alumnae, friends, teacher, administrators and staff, a good portion of Lake County’s population is directly or has been directly affected by our education system.”

A total of 12 individuals were awarded, at least one from each school district and from the Lake County of Education.

Among them was Ami Barker, an 8th grade math teacher at Middletown Middle School, who received this year’s Lake County Teacher of the Year Award, following her predecessor Kimberly Harris from Konocti Unified School District.

Barker was praised for her ability to build trust and connect with her students, as well as ensuring constant communication with students’ parents. Middletown Unified School District staff said the math teacher is worthy of the title for her “being a natural and passionate leader, always making herself available, and presenting boundless energy.” The Teacher of the Year received more than a plaque and a standing ovation. The Community First Credit Union offered Barker $1,500 to “spend on her and not school supplies.” The credit union, which was started by teachers according to the representative at the ceremony, has a special place for educators and they make sure they receive support.

After receiving her awards, Barker said, “It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re recognized for all the things you do. I do put all my heart and soul into teaching and I love my students. I’m humbled to be recognized with all these educators.”

An emotional moment hovered over the evening as the Lake County Champion of Education Award was given to Bill Wright, who served on the Middletown Unified School District Board of Education for more than 22 years. According to the LCOE, Wright was instrumental in the building of a new school campus to house Minnie Cannon School. During his tenure as a Board Member, more than 2,100 students graduated from Middletown High School.

But perhaps one of the most memorable achievements Wright is recognized for was his outstanding leadership through the Rocky, Jerusalem, and Valley fires. Superintendent of Schools Brock Falkenberg said, “Bill delivered dedication and leadership. During the recovery process, Bill shared the schools’ perspective at all community meetings and made sure decisions made did focus on students, staff, and families’ needs.”

Wright’s involvement helped bridge community and educational efforts to move forward.

Also awarded that night: Barbara Hooten and Rick Easter, Konocti Unified School District; Janice Kane and Tammi Van Housen, Kelseyville Unified School District; Martha Perez and Curtis Reichert, Lakeport Unified School District; Karen Huff, Middletown Unified School District; Barbara Schaefers and Joel Sombs, Upper Lake Unified School District; Bonnie Schmidt, Lake County Office of Education.

Mitch Tucker, Ami Barker and Jamey Gill hold a check for $1,500.00 awarded to Barker as LC Teacher of the Year.Bill Wright, former Board of Trustee member of Middletown Unified School District, and Brock Falkenberg, Lake County Superintendent of SchoolsHonorees and their administrators at Educator of the Year awards 2017.


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