Skip to main content

 Getting to Know SDCOE: 2021 JCCS Teacher of the Year Kristen Tanner

Kristin Tanner believes that each of her students can be whatever they aspire to be, regardless of the challenges they face.

Her dedication based on that belief is a large part of why the 4th-grade teacher at Monarch School was selected as the Juvenile Court and Community Schools teacher of the year.

"In my 23 years of teaching thousands of students who have been impacted by significant obstacles — incarceration, homelessness, mental health issues, and systematic marginalization — I feel my greatest contribution to each one of them has been to give them the knowledge that they are capable of great things," she said. "It has been my mission to not only teach students the foundational skills I have been tasked with giving them, it has been to show them that they have a resilience and a strength that makes them unstoppable."

Tanner started her career as a teacher working with students in juvenile detention 23 years ago when she had just completed college.

"I was a bright-eyed 23-year-old who had no idea what this profession was going to teach me," she said.

She has been at Monarch School for 16 years and has held many different roles, including special educator, liaison educator to nearby similar schools, ASB advisor, and instructional coach. Recently, she has helped to expand project-based learning opportunities at the school through a partnership with High Tech High. She has been a trailblazer in the transition to distance learning during the pandemic.

Before coming to Monarch School, Tanner taught through Juvenile Court and Community Schools at Sarah Anthony High School, Polinsky Children's Center, Harbor Summit, and Toussaint Academy.

Tanner is enthusiastic, intelligent, humorous, thoughtful, charismatic, empathetic, and confident, said Michael Paredes, principal at Monarch School.

"Ms. Tanner is the type of educator that every administrator wants on their team," Paredes said. "She personifies the type of professionalism and commitment that is key to making a school great."