LAUSD Rookie of Year Teachers Will Be Honored at Dodgers Game

LOS ANGELES (July 28, 2015) – Twenty-three teachers from the Los Angeles Unified School District have been named Rookies of the Year for the 2014-15 school year.

“These talented teachers are the building blocks of great schools. They inspire young people. They encourage students to achieve, and embrace lifelong learning," said Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines. "We look forward to their impressive work for many years to come.”

On Sunday, Aug. 2, the 23 winners and their guests will enjoy a Dodgers-Angels baseball game from a private suite at the stadium provided by Security Benefit, a retirement specialist serving teachers and educators. Superintendent Cortines and Chief Human Resources Officer
Justo Avilla are expected to join them. Honored will be:

Emily Aguon, second grade, West Athens Elementary School
Rosalinda Aleman, fifth grade, Franklin Ave. Elementary School
Jasmine Allen-Matora, Special Education, 24th Street Elementary School
Edgar Avalos, Special Education, Middleton Street Elementary School
Rachel Axelrad, first grade, Hillcrest Elementary School
Sara Benyaminy, kindergarten, West Hollywood Elementary School
Jessica Blake, third grade, Trinity Street Elementary School
Rigoberto Cruz, sciences, Franklin High School
Alexander Dinh, biology, Downtown Business Magnet School
Cindy Flores, kindergarten, Van Nuys Elementary School
Jessica Garcia, kindergarten, Wisdom Elementary School
Teasha Gilliam, fifth grade, Dr. Owen Knox Elementary School
Lorenzo Hidalgo, Special Education, Bridge St. Elementary School
Maria Huerta, fourth grade, Saticoy Elementary School
Melissa Ally Kim, first grade, Weigand Elementary School
Aja Koester, English, Nava College Preparatory School
Heidy Lopez, first grade, Queen Anne Elementary School
Kelsey Meek, biology, Washington Preparatory High School
Jose Pillado, Special Education, Leichman High School
Julia Rosenmeyer, kindergarten, 96th Street Elementary
Enrique Rodriguez, Special Education, Sheridan Elementary
Robert Sears, Special Education, Cochran Middle School
Patrick Sherwood, math, Humanities & Arts Academy at Narbonne High School

In this, the inaugural year of the award, the District employed more than 900 first-year teachers. Of those, 87 were nominated by school site administrators and new teacher support. A committee selected winners based on key characteristics, including effectiveness in preparing and delivering instruction; providing a positive classroom climate with strong routines and procedures; adopting a dynamic and engaging teaching style, and showing high levels of professionalism.

The California Credit Union, which was originally formed to offer educators financial services, created the Rookie of the Year program, along with Security Benefit to recognize educators within the greater Los Angeles community. "These teachers exemplify excellence in what they do," said Ron McDaniel, the credit union’s CEO. "Our credit union was built on serving educators and we are proud to support a program that encourages and inspires excellent new teachers who are passionate about teaching the children of Los Angeles."

Press Contacts:
Ellen Morgan, Office of Communications, LAUSD; office 213.241.6766

Amber Danford, California Credit Union; office 818.291.5539

Limited press passes for accredited journalists will allow restricted access for interviews and photo opportunities with the Rookies of the Year and program sponsors prior to the first pitch. To apply, contact the Dodgers’ Public Relations department at 323-224-1301. It does not include tickets to the game.

Second largest in the nation, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) enrolls more than 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, at more than 900 schools, and 200 public charter schools. LAUSD employs close to 60,000 people of which more than 1800 are new teachers. Our vision is that every student receives a quality education in a safe, caring environment, and will be college-prepared and career ready.

About California Credit Union

California Credit Union is a federally insured, state chartered credit union founded in 1933 that serves all California public or private school employees, as well as their relatives, members of the student body, and other related organizations. With more than 86,000 members and assets of nearly $1.4 billion, Glendale-based California Credit Union has 13 branches throughout the Los Angeles area. Visit to learn more.

About Security Benefit
Security Benefit, a 123-year-old, Kansas-based insurance company with approximately $29 billion in assets, is a leading retirement savings and income solutions provider. Through a combination of innovative products, exceptional investment management and a unique distribution strategy, Security Benefit is a leader in a full range of retirement markets and wealth segments. To learn more about Security Benefit, visit