Two S.D. Teachers Named California's Best
Two San Diego County teachers are among California's best for 2010. They were picked yesterday to be California Teachers of the Year.
One of the educators is Kelly Kovacic. She's a social studies teacher at UC San Diego's Preuss Charter School. She was also nominated to represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
"Well, it still feels a bit surreal," Kovacic said. "I'm still pinching myself to make sure it's true."
Kovacic was selected because she's a successful, inspirational teacher with a solid track record of closing the achievement gap in her classroom. One of her strategies is allowing for plenty of discussion time, which often turns into academic debates.
"Actually, my goal in my classroom is to do the least amount of direct instruction. It's really the kids who are teaching each other and teaching me the information that we're going over."
The other San Diego County teacher to get the state honor is Melanie Tolan.
Tolan's classroom and students are completely different. She teaches English and history at Kearny Mesa's Juvenile Hall. Her kids are serving 90-day sentences.
"They're in and out very quickly so I have to make connections really fast," Tolan said. "I'm not going to see anyone graduate ... my successes might be smaller successes. But those small successes can lead to big success. If I give a kid a positive environment and it makes him realize he can be a good student, that's a success."
Tolan and Kovacic are two of five California Teachers of the Year. The last San Diego teacher to secure the national title was Sandra McBrayer in 1994.