Three LAUSD Educators Named L.A. County ‘Teachers of the Year’

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 21, 2012) – Recognized for their dedication and contribution to student achievement, three Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) educators were named Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year (TOY) for 2012-2013 during a ceremony today at Universal City.

Jeffrey Austin, Social Justice Humanitas Academy; Stacey Joy, Baldwin Hills Gifted Magnet Elementary School, and Veronica Marquez, Harmony Elementary School were honored with the annual award that recognizes classroom excellence in the county. The standard-bearers are now in the running for the California Teacher of the Year Award. A total of 16 classroom teachers were announced for the 2012-13 Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year by education officials. The chosen teachers represent the profession’s "best of the best” in the largest honors competition for K-12 educators in the state.

“These teachers represent the best in education, and I applaud them all—in particular those from our district,” said Superintendent John Deasy. “Good teaching is a combination of art and science, and we take pride in our professional educators, who help students unlock their potential.”

With 76,000 teachers countywide, the field was narrowed to 71 candidates that represent the education community’s exemplary leaders, with Austin, Joy and Marquez finishing at the top of the list.

Contestants were required to do interviews and submit essays, lesson plans and other materials to judging panels which were comprised of educator peers. All 16 winners from Los Angeles County automatically advance, along with other county winners around the state, to the California Teachers of the Year competition this fall. The National Teacher of the Year contest is scheduled for next spring.                             

Jeffrey Austin, a Los Angeles resident, has taught for 10 years. He teaches Advanced Placement (AP) and honors government, AP economics and AP U.S. at the Social Justice Humanitas Academy at Cesar E. Chavez Learning Academies. Austin’s junior and senior students quickly learn their teacher will not buy into any excuse for not doing homework. But he does offer them support to get it done next time. He definitely believes in second-chance opportunities to succeed.

Stacey Joy, an Inglewood resident, has been teaching fifth-grade at Baldwin Hills Elementary and Gifted Magnet School for 27 years. Her fifth-graders are the “Joyteam,” never settling for less than their best and pushing for each other’s success. They handle novels above their grade-level, as well as read mandated books and engage in discussions about literature.

Veronica Marquez, a Los Angeles resident, has been a fifth-grade teacher at Harmony Elementary School for 13 years. Teaching is not only imparting knowledge, Marquez is convinced, but also instilling positive values and morals. What makes her a good teacher, she thinks, is that she enriches her students with the belief they can succeed no matter what.

The District has a rich history of award-winning teachers. Five LAUSD teachers have won the prestigious California Teachers of the Year award.

  • In 1976, Carole Billone, a special education teacher at Marlton School for the Deaf
  • In 1985, Evaline K. Kruse, an English teacher at Audubon Junior High School.
  • In 2006, Kelly Jean Hanock, an English Language Arts teacher at James Monroe High School.
  • In 2008, Lewis Chappelear, an Engineering Design teacher at James Monroe High School. He also was named one of four nominees for the National Teacher of the Year competition.
  • In 2009, Jose L. Navarro IV, a Social Studies and U.S. History teacher at Sylmar High School.

Contact: Ellen Morgan (213) 241-6766