SUSD board member Laura Arrowsmtih congratulates SUSD Teacher Tribute Honorees for 2019, April 16, 2019. Caleb Lunetta

Saugus district recognizes teachers, Deputy Tom Drake

Over the course of Tuesday evening, the board members and administrators of the Saugus Union School District recognized the district teacher of the year, the 2019 teacher tribute honorees and a campus safety officer.

Teachers from all 15 SUSD schools were recognized as the district’s 2019 teacher tribute honorees. The teachers were selected individually by their school sites.

Teachers being honored received gifts from the school faculty, as well as having their principals and vice principals share a few kind words about them. The speeches honoring the teachers included anecdotes about how far these teachers have gone for their students, how their room is decorated and emotional moments of hugs and embrace between them and their principals.

Named as the SUSD District Teacher of the Year was Joanne Sparks, a special education teacher at Mountainview Elementary.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Sparks, remarking on her award.

Mountainview Principal Katie Demsher spoke to Sparks’ ability to interact and teach her students based on the needs of each student, her constant accounting for the atmosphere and decorations in her room as to make them suitable for her sensory-impaired students and that she always uses a calming voice while in her classroom.

“She’s the closest we’ll ever have to having ‘Mary Poppins’ as a teacher,” said Demsher. “She’s practically perfect in every way.”

Sparks’ sixth-grade student Shae Granger was in the audience, and cheered “bravo” as her teacher accepted the award to a standing ovation within the room.

Deputy Drake

Deputy Tom Drake, who is set to retire at the end of this year, was recognized for his 35 years of law enforcement service — 11 years of which he spent in the various Saugus Union School District schools as a liaison between the district and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

om Drake, who is set to retire at the end of this year, was recognized for his 35 years of law enforcement service — 11 years of which he spent in the various Saugus Union School District schools as a liaison between the district and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

“What a great honor is for me to talk about Deputy Drake… because 35 years is a long time,” said Isa De Armas, SUSD assistant superintendent for education services. “I know that many of our principals had your direct contact and would call you at a moment’s notice and you would answer.”

De Armas thanked Drake for also educating the school site staff, faculty and various stakeholders about school safety, as well as providing them with training on what to do in the event of an emergency. SUSD Superintendent Colleen Hawkins personally thanked the SCV sheriff’s deputy for assisting her in the transition into her role after Hawkins had come to the district last year, and taught her about what to do in the event of a school lockdown.

“We are very grateful for your service. You are an amazing officer, always looking at the public safety, a hard worker and it does not go unnoticed,” said De Armas. “We are better off because of your service.”

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