Five educators announced as San Diego County Teachers of the Year


Five educators representing elementary to high school level have been named as San Diego County’s Teachers of the Year. They will now represent the county in the 2020-21 California Teacher of the Year program.

They are:

Arah Allard, grade 4, Del Mar Hills Elementary School, Del Mar Union School District

Christine Hill, Career Technical Education Engineering, Grades 9-12, Ramona High School, Ramona Unified School District

Jose Melo, Dual Language Social Studies and English Language Development, Grades 6-8, Valley Center Middle School, Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District

Paula Richardson, music, grades 6-8, Wilson Middle School, San Diego Unified School District

Jay Tweet, history-social science, grade 12, El Capitan High School, Grossmont Union High School District

Arah Allard
(Courtesy photo)
Christine Hill
(Courtesy photo)
Paula Richardson
(Courtesy photo)
Jay Tweet
(Courtesy photo)
Jose Melo
(Courtesy photo)

“While the teaching environment has changed over the last several months, the impact that teachers have on their students and on society has not. In fact, the need for learning and connection is even more critical as we confront this pandemic,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold in a statement.

“San Diego County teachers have risen to the challenge and continue providing students with the academic, social, and emotional supports they need to be successful now, and in the future. They are highly skilled, passionate, and determined individuals, and we are honored to recognize and celebrate them.”

The 2020-21 county Teachers of the Year were chosen from among 40 nominees selected by their districts for their commitment to students, teaching and lifelong learning. The selection panel was made up of former county Teachers of the Year, school and county office of education administrators, and a parent representative. Criteria included student progress, school-community involvement, teaching philosophy, knowledge of issues and trends in education, promotion and development of teaching, school culture, and ability to serve as ambassadors of education.

The teachers will be honored during the 30th annual “Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers,” which will air as a pre-recorded show on Cox Channel 4/1004 and Spectrum Channel 4 on Nov. 21, and will replay several times throughout November and December.

This year’s show will also look at the learning environment during COVID-19, feature highlights from the show’s past 30 years of honoring teachers, and show how community partners support education across the county.

“The pandemic has highlighted just how dedicated San Diego County’s teachers are to their students and their profession, and we want to continue to shine the spotlight on how amazing they are,” said Sam Attisha, senior vice president and region manager for Cox Communications, in a statement. “The classroom may look different this year, and our show ‘Salute to Teachers’ will too. We are excited to be able to capture the passion, creativity, and innovation of our county’s teachers. Congratulations to our five county Teachers of the Year and all the district nominees.”

The California Teacher of the Year winners will be announced later this fall. Since 1974, 181 teachers have been named San Diego County Teacher of the Year. Of those, 22 went on to be chosen as California Teacher of the Year, and three were ultimately named National Teacher of the Year.

— Laura Groch is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune