Educators from each school in five Santa Clarita Valley districts were honored Friday night in the annual Teacher Tribute, which was a half-in-person, half-virtual event.
The 2021 tribute, aptly named the “Mask-erade,” honored 53 teachers, one from each school, with a red-carpet experience and a virtual ceremony with each superintendent revealing teaching secrets from each honoree.
“While (the theme) is a play on words to our current situation, it was also selected for another reason,” said Dave Caldwell, public information officer with the William S. Hart Union High School District. “We’ve chosen this theme because behind every mask is a person, and behind every person there’s a story.”
Honorees from the 37th annual tribute had the opportunity to walk down a socially distanced red carpet with loved ones within the same household to pick up a gift basket and catered meals from Marston’s Restuarant. Gift baskets included wine, desserts, a commemorative tote bag and a personalized medal.
After the red-carpet event, honorees and their families were able to watch the virtual portion of the tribute on the SCV Education Foundation’s Facebook page where each individual teacher was named and a brief biography was made, along with “teaching secrets.”
“All teachers have shown resiliency, perseverance and creative adaptability during these treacherous times,” said Castaic Union School District Superintendent Steve Doyle.
Each district superintendent named off the Teacher of the Year for the school sites within their district.
Along with names, superintendents told brief stories about each honoree, such as their ability to keep students engaged during virtual learning, helping other teachers transition to distance-learning models and giving students extra attention if needed.
Saugus High School social studies teacher Jim Klipfel was also recognized during the virtual event after being named one of five California Teachers of the Year, who will progress to the National Teacher of the Year Competition after being named as the state’s choice by state Superintendent Tony Thurmond.
The selection process of Teacher of the Year varies among districts but common themes factored into who receives a nomination are “demonstrating leadership and commitment to grow professionally as well as assisting others to grow, inspiring students and other teachers to achieve excellence and engaging and supporting all students in learning,” Caldwell said.