The past two years have changed a lot of things.We’re all a little different now — and we do things a little differently. This has become apparent in many fields, one of them being education. As we prepared for our annual School Heroes — Top Teachers, Top Employees and Top Leaders — of 2022 awards and issue, we had to really ponder the meaning of heroes. Suddenly, that idea has taken on much greater, more impactful meaning. According to Orange County Superintendent of Schools Al Mijares, “Our teachers and school employees have worked themselves to the point of exhaustion to keep their schools and communities safe. They’ve had to interpret and demystify public health guidance at the local, state and federal levels. They’ve had to find new and innovative ways to engage and inspire students. And they’ve had to balance the needs and interests of diverse stakeholders who haven’t always agreed with state and local health orders. Suffice to say, these challenges weren’t part of their training or credentialing requirements.” Educators have continued to go above and beyond in ways they (or anyone) could not have anticipated. And yet, here we are with our annual School Heroes issue, honoring the Top Teacher, Top Leader and Top Employee of Orange County, along with many finalists.
- Top Teacher Finalists 2022
- Top Teacher & Employee Awards 2022 —Judges and Nomination Criteria
- Leadership Award Finalists 2022
These heroes have been described as: “Her passion for teaching is infectious and has influenced many teachers throughout the district sharing her knowledge and expertise willingly to help others become better educators and learners for life.” — Of teacher Penny Endicott, Robert C. Fisler School “She has been known to buy all kinds of supplies and athletic equipment for students and staff, whenever she learns of a need.” — Of teacher Sheila Moeller, Tustin High School “Seth helped us stay on an even keel, making tough decisions on school closures, reopenings and ever-changing currents. Instrumental in piloting a course for the 2021-2022 year, Seth is a lifeline that supports school-wide emotional needs stemming from pandemic life.” — Of leader Seth Britton, Red Hill Lutheran School And the list goes on. For their work and passion, we dedicate our March issue to all the Orange County teachers, employees and leaders who have chosen to dedicate their lives to help students thrive. And even through these unprecedented, challenging times, they have risen to the challenge to continue to support Orange County students and their families in every way they can.
By Jessica Peralta