Lake County Teacher of the Year 2019 - 2020
Science Teacher | Upper Lake High School | Upper Lake Unified School District
Amanda Laughner is a first-class educator with a passion and commitment to excellence.
Amanda possesses a work ethic that is unmatched by any other educator---she has dedicated her years as an educator to serve and motivate students who come from ALL backgrounds.
Amanda epitomizes what a teacher should strive to be and accomplish. Well-rounded, caring, and someone who pushes and supports all kids to be their best, Amanda has been an amazing role model for all students. Amanda is a champion for kids who come from all backgrounds and she has been instrumental in supporting Upper Lake High School to honing in on sound instructional practices in all content areas so that students can be successful in a full inclusion environment.
Amanda’s great strengths include her daily commitment, dedication, and professional preparedness for each of her classes; and beyond that, a personal goal of providing equal access to education for every student, regardless of their circumstance or position in the community.
She has a talent for bringing out the best in people and students, and has earned the respect of not only the Upper Lake High School staff, but of the Middle School in our district.
This year Amanda was called upon to support Upper Lake Middle School as they rolled up their sleeves to increase curriculum and instruction capacity. Her professionalism and commitment to this area of growth was a huge support and model for the staff, specifically to the teacher she mentored throughout the year.
Amanda taught a “Learning by Making” STEM enrichment class which was a new course. She was instrumental in the piloting of this class through a partnership with Sonoma State University. Amanda’s colleagues know that she will go above and beyond to support students.
One example of Amanda going above and beyond is when she stepped up to lead our Native American Club and Wolf Pack. In addition to leading this student-centered, culturally responsive club, Amanda as Club Advisor is a key member of our District's Native American Action Committee (NAAC). Upper Lake Unified School District NAAC meets regularly to provide a voice, support system for Native American Students as well as promoting equality and fairness and cultural preservation for all tribes and groups represented in our community. Amanda’s voice at NAAC is critical because she works directly with our students---our students know that Mrs. Laughner cares deeply about their success by holding them to high expectations with strategic support.
It’s the efforts such as this that separate a good educator from a great educator.
Student’s know that Mrs. Laughner will push them inside the classroom everyday and she will be the first to be there whenever needed, especially for our traditionally marginalized students.
Our students trust and feel comfortable with Mrs. Laughner due to her genuine efforts on their behalf. She helps kids succeed. They are taught commitment, discipline, camaraderie, cooperation, leadership and sense of purpose and responsibility to self and others in her class. I love visiting Amanda’s classes because I always see a teacher who provides for all of her students, all ability levels, in a rigorous, engaging, thoughtful, supportive, environment that says “you can do it!”
Amanda Laughner is a socially conscious person who teaches values, respect, tolerance and concern for others as well as subject matter in her classes. She teaches not only by words, but also by actions. She never takes shortcuts or the easiest way through the day’s learning; the needs of her students come first. She is truly a credit to the teaching profession. Amanda Laughner is a winner. She is an amazing educator, a true role model and a proud mother of two wonderful children.
With her innate abilities, love of learning, and support of kids, there is no limit to what she can accomplish.
Most recently, our staff has asked Amanda to oversee and lead our school’s first step in designing a comprehensive Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). Amanda will lead our school to identify small, high impact steps for all three tiers in the MTSS system---AND she will help support teachers to embed Tier 1 as an active, frequent and ongoing part of their classrooms.
In addition to this, Amanda will design and pilot a new course for students who have not been successful in the regular classroom. This is a huge undertaking. Amanda has the support of our entire staff to lead this critical work because she models through action that all kids can learn and she believes that it is our job as educators to create the conditions and the structures for learning to take place - everyday. Amanda has an influence on her colleagues helping to create the mindset that “any child can succeed.”
- Annie Pivniska Petrie, Upper Lake High School Principal
Return to the 2019-2020 Educator of the Year page.