Ellen De La Cruz, teacher at San Diego SOAR Academy at Kearny Mesa, is one of seven teachers in the state nominated for 2019 Teacher of the Year as awarded by the Juvenile Court, Community and Alternative School Administrators of California (JCCASAC).
Her colleague Sean Scott said in a letter of recommendation that De La Cruz has proven to be an outstanding teacher and advocate for her students.
“She shows tremendous patience and professionalism while working with this highly reactive population,” said Scott. "She strives to recognize even the smallest improvements in behavior and/or academic achievement.”
Ellen is grateful for the nomination and said it’s a team effort at the SOAR Academy site, a Juvenile Court and Community School run by the San Diego County Office of Education.
“We have a ‘Let’s roll’ mentality, meaning we roll with the challenges that each day brings, and we bring together our best effort in service to our students, said De La Cruz.
“If I can be a consistent, calm force in their lives, then I feel successful," she added. "I want my students to grow and learn each day; I don’t want them to waste time while they are in Juvenile Hall.”
San Diego SOAR Academy at Kearny Mesa Principal Joanne Finney, who nominated De La Cruz for the honor, said that De La Cruz’s greatest gift is her ability to create meaningful connections with students, especially during such trying and difficult times.
In bestowing this award, JCCASAC seeks to “honor teachers who are passionate, collaborative professionals dedicated to empowering students to become competent, creative thinking and caring adults who lead healthy lifestyles and are academically prepared for an ever-changing and global economy.”
The Teacher of the Year winner will be announced at the 50th annual JCCASAC State Conference May 8-10 in Truckee, Calif. All nominees will be recognized at a special awards luncheon.