Walnut Valley Salutes Teachers of the Year


WALNUT, CA—Fifteen of Walnut Valley USD’s finest educators were honored this week during the 19th annual Salute to Teachers.

The 2015-2016 Teachers of the Year, one from each site, were chosen for putting “Kids First” each and every day.

Over 300 teachers, staff, family members, and local officials gathered for the celebration of excellence held at the Walnut High School Performing Arts Center on October 19.

Congratulations to the following Teachers of the Year:  Shannon Cooper – Castle Rock Elementary, Denise Loera – Chaparral Middle School, Christa Richard – C.J. Morris Elementary, Linda Freedman – Collegewood Elementary, Katherine Royer – Evergreen Elementary, Emily Clark – Diamond Bar High, Kathy Hurley – Maple Hill Elementary, Pam Leslie – Quail Summit Elementary, Frank De Anda – Ron Hockwalt Academies, Susan Willmering – South Pointe Middle School, Lauri Ujita – Suzanne Middle School, Sara Schilz – Vejar Elementary, Jill Takayama – Walnut Elementary, Corey Wicks – Walnut High School, and Kimberley Dalton – Westhoff Elementary.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor commended the dedicated group of educators for the work they do every day to support students.

“It is so special to formally recognize teachers for their hard work, commitment, compassion, and caring attitude,” he said.

Science and Independent Study teacher Frank De Anda was named the 2016 District Teacher of the Year at the culmination of the program.

De Anda said one approach to ensuring student success is building a sense of self-efficacy.

“What teachers do beyond the classroom matters.  It is more than the lessons we teach and the grades we give,” he commented.

“It is the relationships we form and interactions with our students that are key to building the social emotional skills that will prepare our students for adulthood.  I am proud to work in a district that values the whole child.”

The recognition event included personalized tributes, awards, and student entertainment by the Walnut High Men’s Ensemble and Chamber Singers choirs under the direction of Lisa Lopez.

Each Teacher of the Year received a golden apple bell award courtesy of the Walnut Valley Educational Foundation. Honorees received rolling carts filled with gift cards, school supplies, and certificates of achievement from Congressman Ed Royce, Senator Bob Huff, City of Diamond Bar, and City of Walnut.

A special thanks to our event sponsors On Pointe, Massage Envy, Chick-fil-A, Benihana Restaurant, Schools First Federal Credit Union, Chaffey Federal Credit Union, LifeTouch Photography, Farmer Boys, Julie’s Café, Mr. G’s Pizza, The Whole Enchilada, Rubio’s, L.A. Fitness, My Lunch Spot, Henry Woo Architects, Roule Construction, In-N-Out Burger, Starbucks, Yogurtland, and Chipotle,

The District Teacher of the Year was presented with an engraved award and grand prize package that included an interactive flat screen courtesy of OnPoint Innovative Learning Environments.

De Anda shared that being named Teacher of the Year for Alternative Education has been the highlight of his career.

“It is truly the biggest honor a teacher can receive and I could not be prouder to represent such a wonderful district!”

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