The Santa Clarita Valley community came together Thursday to honor the work and success of Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin, a 2018 California State Teacher of the Year.
In October, Oxhorn-Gilpin—a first and second grade multi-subject teacher at Northlake Hills Elementary School—was one of five teachers in California chosen by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson as a State Teacher of the Year.
She was also the only elementary school teacher—out of more than early 300,000 teachers in the state—selected for the honor.
“There are over 300,000 teachers in the state of California, because of our size the state of California allows for five and Erin was selected as one of those five from little old Castaic,” Castaic Union School District (CUSD) Superintendent Steve Doyle said. “If you ever get a chance to go into Erin’s room you’ll know why. She has all of her student engaged, they’re integrated in technology, they’re doing cool new projects.”
In addition, Oxhorn-Gilpin was chosen for her hands-on lessons, differentiated teaching methods, individualized approach to her, creative process in developing projects and innovative approach to education, according to Torlakson.
“She connects to her kids and her story is no doubt one of the reasons she was selected,” Doyle said. “She is so articulate in explaining her passion for teaching and you can see it every day in her classroom.”
Earlier this year, Northlake Hills Elementary held a school-wide celebration for Oxhorn-Gilpin, complete with confetti, balloons, flowers, hugs and cheers.
Thursday’s recognition from the Castaic Union School District Governing Board, Northlake Hills Elementary School staff, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Sen. Scott Wilk, Assemblymember Dante Acosta and Mayor Mayor Cameron Smyth served as another way to celebrate the inspiring teacher.
“We are so proud of you, on behalf of the board and all of the district staff, and so grateful for you,” Board President Susan Christopher said. “You are about all students and all teachers so I’m just so grateful that we have someone out there talking about Castaic and all those awesome kids and our wonderful teachers.”
Oxhorn-Gilpin was also honored with a jubilant celebration from the audience that included cheers, tambourines, drums, streamers, balloons and flowers.
A humble honoree, Oxhorn-Gilpin credited her success to her “village” that helped her grow as a teacher and earn the title of Teacher of the Year.
“Through this whole yearlong process there’s been a lot of reflecting on teaching and what it means to teach, but also what it means to teach in Castaic,” she said. “Through all that reflecting something that really just came to me that in no way do I feel that this is something that is just my title, it is very much shared with my colleagues and my administrators and the parents I work with, but also with my students.”
The 12-year veteran of the Castaic District also shared the success with her entire district, happy that the honor put one of the smaller Santa Clarita Valley school districts on the map.
“I feel very fortunate that I’m here in Castaic and that I get to share this title because in no way do I feel that I am just Teacher of the Year for the state of California, but that we are District of the Year for the State of California,” Oxhorrn-Gilpin said.
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_