Friday, October 17, 2014

What's New in GUHSD

L: West Hills Teacher John Berray is named a San Diego County Teacher of the Year at the 41st Annual San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards on October 11

On Saturday, October 11, I had the pleasure of watching two of Grossmont’s finest educators being honored at “A Salute to Teachers,” the San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards. Representing GUHSD in the competition were this year’s nominees, West Hills teacher John Berray and Granite Hills teacher Debbie Burton, who competed against many outstanding teachers countywide. Also present was 2013-2014 San Diego County Teacher of the Year from Santana High School, Eileen Bagg-Rizzo.

The annual event honors San Diego County’s public school teachers and was televised live on Channel 4 San Diego from the Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego. This year’s telecast marks 41 years of honoring teachers in San Diego County. 

L: GUHSD Teachers of the Year
John Berray (West Hills),
Debbie Burton (Granite Hills)
and Eileen Bagg-Rizzo (Santana)
 with Superintendent Swenson
The culminating event of the evening was the naming of the five San Diego County Teachers of the Year, which included West Hill’s own John Berray!

John teaches Mathematics at West Hills, where he has been teaching since 1995.  He also serves on the school’s Literacy Team and Technology Committee and has the distinction of being a Noyce Master Teacher Fellow through UCSD.

West Hills Principal Paul Dautremont remarked that, “John has proven himself to be a strong math teacher and advocate for his students. He has also shown an ability to lead his colleagues to improve math instruction and make West Hills the best school it can be.”

West Hills’ graduate Connor Richards noted, “I vividly recall the impression that Mr. Berray made upon me. No instructor that I have had before or since has displayed the passion that he showed each day in class. His enthusiasm for mathematics and learning in general was absolutely contagious.”

The mantra in John’s classes is that his classroom is a safe place for mistakes to happen and for second chances to occur. He makes his math class a lively, enjoyable experience by turning the mundane on its ear to motivate students to see the beauty of mathematics and its omnipresence and to understand the important connection between their education and the rest of their lives.

The San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards program is the official stepping-stone to the California Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year events. The five Teachers of the Year selected last week will represent San Diego County in the California Teacher of the Year program, which will be announced later this year. Nominees for San Diego County Teacher of the Year were selected based on student achievement, teaching philosophy, familiarity with current issues in education and community involvement.

John will be involved with many exciting events over the course of the next year including throwing out the first pitch at a Padres Game. He'll also help select next year's winners. Congratulations to John Berray!