Solana Highlands’ Tiffany Farnsworth named Solana Beach district Teacher of the Year
By Karen Billing
Solana Highlands Elementary School teacher Tiffany Farnsworth always has on her metaphorical rose-colored glasses and why not?
“It’s a wonderful thing to be in school,” she says brightly. “We’re all lucky we’re here.”
Farnsworth’s rosy attitude no doubt contributed to her being named this year’s Solana Beach School District Teacher of the Year.
At SBSD she has always been an education specialist, giving children the extra boost they need.
“I like that you really get to target areas that are beneficial to the student in their learning and accessing the curriculum, it’s pretty exciting.” Farnsworth said. “It’s all about finding the way to help that student excel.”
Farnsworth had always wanted to be a teacher but she was encouraged to pursue business so she took a detour, working for 10 years in durable medical goods marketing and insurance.
When she was 31, her mother and grandmother passed away and she decided it was time to do what she really wanted to do.
She went back to school to San Diego State University to get her teaching credential and master’s degree in literacy. In 2004, she got her first job in the Solana Beach School District and has been at three of the six schools: Solana Pacific, Skyline and last year she arrived at Solana Highlands.
“It’s been the best decision of my life so far,” said Farnsworth.
Every student is different so it keeps Farnsworth on her toes. She believes in “positive expectations and positive rewards” and approaches every day with her infectiously cheerful disposition.
She also works with students on inter-personal and social skills through a video-modeling program. Small groups focus on learning about a certain social skill, such as apologizing and then they watch and make a video of themselves doing it.
“I think all the schools in the Solana Beach School District are so lucky, our past superintendent (the recently retired Leslie Fausset) always said ‘ Solana Beach School District schools are the schools that every child deserves’,” Farnsworth said. “Every single teacher is integral to the success of these schools.”
At Solana Highlands, Farnsworth heads up the Homework Club after school and before school holds a reading intervention group. She also is involved at the state level with the
California Teachers Association and serves on the district’s insurance advisory committee.
In her free time from work, Farnsworth is also on the board of directors for Girls on the Run, a group that teaches pre-teen girls ages 8 to 12 healthy lifestyle choices and self-esteem while training for a 5K race. She recalls touchingly being asked by one of her students to be her running buddy in 2007 and she has been involved with the organization ever since as a coach, event coordinator and now board member.
Farnsworth also gives back to four-legged friends by volunteering at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society and is currently fostering a dog.