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 Five Educators Honored As San Diego County Teachers of the Year


Five local educators were named San Diego County Teachers of the Year during the 22nd annual “Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers brought to you by Ashford University” in cooperation with the San Diego County Office of Education. The annual event honored San Diego County’s public school teachers and was televised live on Channel 4 San Diego from the Balboa Theater in downtown San Diego.   Pictured above (L-R):  Tim Dobbins, Emily Jimenez, Martin Reisert, Jennifer McSparran, Anthony Bayro.

The 2012-13 San Diego County Teachers of the Year are:

  • Anthony Bayro, Los Peñasquitos Elementary School (Poway Unified School District)
  • Tim Dobbins, Montgomery Middle School, (Cajon Valley Union School District)
  • Emily Jimenez, Rancho del Rey Middle School, (Sweetwater Union High School District)
  • Jennifer McSparran, Mt. Woodson Elementary (Ramona Unified School District)
  • Martin Reisert, Oak Valley Middle School (Poway Unified School District)

The five teachers of the year will go on to 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 by their school districts based on student achievement, teaching philosophy, familiarity with current issues in education and community involvement.

A third-grade teacher at Los Peñasquitos Elementary School in Rancho Peñasquitos, Anthony Bayro’s classroom is home to a group he refers to as the BEARS: Bright, Eager, and Responsible Students. Bayro’s goal is to connect to the uniqueness of each student and communicate with them about their growth to help them set their own goals. Bayro, his students and their families have all agreed to a contract to “always think, act, and behave in the best way we know.”

Timothy Dobbins is a sixth-grade science, math, and technology teacher at Montgomery Middle School in El Cajon. His class is designed to bring about a sense of community and belonging. Through his travels abroad, Dobbins brings back real-life connections to the world and teaches cultural understanding and awareness. He views self-assessment as a “continuous cycle” and a necessary factor in accomplishing individual learning goals. Dobbins’s compassion for students as individuals combined with his love of learning is what he believes leads to success in his classroom.

Emily Jimenez, a seventh-grade English teacher at Rancho del Ray Middle School in Chula Vista, fills her classroom with feelings of mutual respect and never-ending encouragement. She says that one of her greatest joys of teaching comes from those moments when students bridge what they’ve learned in her class with their everyday lives, a concept she refers to as an “accessible curriculum.”

Students in special education teacher Jennifer McSparran’s K-6 class are held to the same expectations as any other student at Mt. Woodson Elementary in Ramona. However, McSparran tailors their learning in a way that fits them individually, including one-on-one time, where students achieve feelings of success that help raise their self-confidence. In addition to meeting the learning needs of students with special needs, McSparran has also had to address student issues such as homelessness and illiteracy. Through empathy and tough-love, McSparran conveys to her students that learning must occur every day.

Martin Reisert teaches sixth grade at Oak Valley Middle School in Rancho Bernardo. His candor with his students about his own struggles in school allows Reisert’s students to feel comfortable sharing their own challenges, and to recognize that adversity can be overcome. Learning in Reisert’s class is “hands-on” and “minds-on.” He explores the actual places that his class studies, and brings back pictures, artifacts and stories from his travels to make learning come to life. Reisert bases his teaching on four words, “I believe in you” to remind students that he believes in them, and to inspire them to believe in themselves.

Rounding out the top 10 finalists were: Donna Harper, Empresa Elementary School (Vista Unified School District), Liz Lewellen, Pendleton Elementary School (Fallbrook Union School District), Steven Santana, Lewis Middle School (San Diego Unified School District), Terrance Smith, Chula Vista High School (Sweetwater Union High School District), Joey Sutera, Carlton Oaks School (Santee School District).

“Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers” will replay on Channel 4 San Diego on Sun., Oct. 7 at 6 p.m.; Sat. Oct. 20 at 9:30 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 26 at 8 p.m.; and Wed., Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. and on iTV Ch. 16 Oct. 20 at 5:00 p.m., Oct. 28 at 2:00 p.m. and Nov. 12 at 5:00 p.m. 

Sponsors of “Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers” included presenting sponsor Ashford University, San Diego County Credit Union, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, Cymer, Sony, UT San Diego, HLN, Fox Sports San Diego, NBC Universal, Scripps Networks, History Channel, Sunshine Communications, Inc., Cisco, National University, and Mad House Comedy Club.