L.A Unified Honors 22 Educators as ‘Teachers of the Year’

 LOS ANGELES (June 15, 2017) - L.A. Unified announced today that 22 teachers have been selected as the District’s 2017-18 Teachers of the Year, an honor that recognizes their excellence, creativity and ability to make a difference in the lives of their students. The winners include teachers in elementary, secondary and adult schools, special-education programs, affiliated charters and magnets.

“Congratulations to this year’s winners for this well-deserved honor,” said Superintendent Michelle King, a former secondary science teacher. “Our teachers provide our students with a strong academic foundation, along with the knowledge and skills to pursue their aspirations and lead fulfilling lives. I am grateful for their dedication, inspiration and professionalism, and for empowering our students to reach their potential.”

Ten of the District’s winning teachers are now qualified for the Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year competition, which is part of the California and National Teachers of the Year programs.

The winners are:

Youko Amemiya teaches kindergarten, first and second grades at Carson Street STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Academy School. She previously taught English at a private high school in Torrance.

Carmen Ayala teaches English, Spanish and seventh-grade Leadership at Audubon Middle School. She has been a teacher for eight years.

Michele Bethune teaches Honors English at Dodson Gifted/Highly Gifted/High Ability Magnet. She has been teaching middle school English since 1994.

Roxana Brock teaches special-needs children ages 3 to 5 at Telfair Elementary School. She has been teaching for 20 years.

Dana Brooks teaches U.S. History and Government at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School. A former lawyer, she has been teaching for 10 years.

Daniel Buccieri teaches U.S. and World History at Venice High School. He has been teaching since 2003.

Kirsten Farrell teaches Sports Medicine, Sports Therapeutics and Medical Terminology at Venice Adult School. She previously taught in Japan and Switzerland.

Robert Garrett teaches fifth-grade at Chandler Learning Academy. He has been teaching since 1989.

Marina Henderson teaches third grade at Garvanza Elementary School. She worked as a journalist before becoming a teacher in 1994. For the last 20 years, she has mentored new teachers at UCLA’s Center X.

Misti Kemmer teaches fourth grade at Russell Gifted/Highly Gifted/High Ability Magnet. She also is the school’s Gifted and Talented Education coordinator.

Grace Maddox teaches high school art at UCLA Community School, part of the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex. She has been teaching for 12 years.

Carrie Merrihew teaches third grade at 7th Street Elementary School, and also is the student government and yearbook sponsor. She has been a multi-subject teacher for 17 years.

Heather Penrod teaches English and Social Studies at Reseda High School. She has been a teacher for 20 years.

Caroline Rhude teaches all grade levels of English, including Advanced Placement English and Composition, at Hamilton High School.

Lisa Robles teaches fourth and fifth grades at Lucille Roybal-Allard Elementary School. She has been teaching elementary school for 27 years.

Ximena Rodriguez-Miller teaches English and also coaches the Academic Decathlon team at Monroe High School. She has been teaching for 17 years.

Jonathan Rubio-Garcia teaches Math, Statistics and Probability, and Advanced Placement Statistics at Arleta High School.

Randi Seligson teaches English and Social Studies at Hale Charter Academy. She has taught middle school for more than 20 years.

Rachel Timsit teaches special-education students and English-Language Learners at Hazeltine Avenue Elementary School. She has been teaching elementary school for 24 years.

Pauline Wain is a speech and language pathologist at President Elementary School, supporting preschool students with severe speech and language impairments.

Jennifer Wakefield teaches kindergarten at Vintage Math/Science/Technology Magnet. She previously taught first and second grades.

Pauline Werthwin teaches third grade at Bushnell Way Elementary. She has been teaching for 21 years.


 Contact: Monica Carazo (213) 241-6766