Teachers Of The Year 2017

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT, CA—Fifteen of Walnut Valley Unified School District’s finest educators were honored during the 20th annual Salute to Teachers on Wednesday.

The 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year, one from each site, were chosen by their peers as shining examples of this noble profession.

Over 300 educators, family, friends, and local officials gathered for the celebration of excellence held at the Diamond Bar High School Theatre on October 18.

Congratulations to the following Teachers of the Year:  Jill Wilson-Fairbanks – Castle Rock Elementary, Jennifer Hildebrandt – Chaparral Middle School, Rochelle Mortensen – C.J. Morris Elementary, Elisabeth Jones – Collegewood Elementary, Alice Oldag – Evergreen Elementary, William Foley – Diamond Bar High, Rebecca Rogers – Maple Hill Elementary, Tamara Schlachter – Quail Summit Elementary, Johann Aaron – Ron Hockwalt Academies, Annie Kim – South Pointe Middle School, Alexis Lujan – Suzanne Middle School, Giselle Cordova – Vejar Elementary, Stephanie Kalscheuer – Walnut Elementary, Chiara Morgan – Walnut High School, and Margaret Hamel – Westhoff Elementary.

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

“I have the pleasure of going into our classrooms and seeing the quality of teachers we have. I’m so proud to get to work with our teaching staff!”

“Every single study credits the classroom teacher as the number one indicator for student achievement,” he added.

“And when you look at Walnut Valley, one of the highest performing districts in the county, it’s no wonder why our students excel.”

Digital photography teacher William “Bill” Foley was named the 2017 District Teacher of the Year at the culmination of the program.

He has a sincere and genuine passion for his craft and demonstrates a tremendous amount of care to every student that walks into his classroom.

The 34-year veteran educator has taught in Walnut Valley USD for the past 17 years and is in his eighth year at Diamond Bar High.

“Being named District Teacher of the Year has been the greatest honor of my life,” he said.

Foley supports his students by celebrating their creativity. He shares their talents through the photos that decorate the campus, are posted on the school website and social media, and published in the school yearbook.

He can often be found on the sidelines at all types of extra-curricular and sporting events working with his students to capture amazing moments of the school community.

Additionally, he has established and ongoing articulation with Mt. San Antonio College which allows his students to attend fieldtrips to the college photo lab, construct photography portfolios, and complete the articulation exam for college credit.

Foley proudly showed several examples of student work as he addressed the audience during the program.

He described how students repair old family photos, create Alphabet City posters, learn about shutter speed, take candid pictures, and manipulate color/black and white images among the many lessons in his classes.

“My goal each year is for students to develop a passion for photography, have the tools to produce good images, and to never be content with average, boring images again!”

The recognition event included personalized tributes, awards, and student entertainment by the Diamond Bar High brass quintet under the direction of Steve Acciani.

Each Teacher of the Year received a golden apple bell award courtesy of the Walnut Valley Educational Foundation. Honorees received rolling carts filled with gifts, school supplies, and certificates of achievement.

A special thanks to the following event sponsors: Schools First Federal Credit Union, Chaffey Federal Credit Union, Massage Envy, Chick-fil-A, Benihana Restaurant, LifeTouch Photography, Farmer Boys, Julie’s Café, Mr. G’s Pizza, The Whole Enchilada, Rubio’s, My Lunch Spot, Roule Construction, Complete Business Systems, American Diversity Business Solutions, Sandy Best – BB&T Insurance, Yogurtland, and Chipotle.