Monday, May 8, 2017

MEDIA ADVISORY from the San Diego Unified School District May 8, 2017

San Diego Unified 2017 Day of the Teacher Celebration; Hundreds expected to attend the annual celebration in honor of National Teacher Day

WHAT: The Day of the Teacher event honors three outstanding educators who have been named San Diego Unified 2017 Teachers of the Year at the elementary, middle and high school level. The three Teacher of the Year runners-up and more than 130 Teachers of the Year from individual school sites will also be recognized.

WHEN:  May 9, 2017, 4:15 to 5 p.m. Reception; 5-7 p.m. Day of the Teacher Special Board of Education Celebration

WHERE: Patrick Henry Arts, Media and Entertainment Center, Patrick Henry High School, 6702 Wandermere Dr, San Diego, CA 92120

ATTENDEES INCLUDE: Superintendent Cindy Marten, Board of Education members, district leadership, school administrators, families and friends of teachers being recognized, student performers from Patrick Henry and Mission Bay high schools, and culinary arts students from Garfield and Morse high schools.

VISUALS: The district’s three Teachers of the Year honored with video tributes, three runners-up receiving special recognition, and the recognition of site teachers of the year. Attendance is typically between 300-350 people.

  • 4:15-4:50 p.m.: Culinary students from Garfield and Morse high schools are prepping and serving food during the reception.
  • 4:15-4:50 p.m.: A string quartet from Patrick Henry High will perform at the reception.
  • 5 p.m.: The Preservationists, the award-winning Jazz group from Mission Bay High, will kick off the ceremony. Their director, Jean-Paul Balmat, is the 2017 High School Teacher of the Year honoree.

DETAILS: Nominees for Teacher of the Year are first selected by their school sites. These individuals have the option to apply for District Teacher of the Year, a process that includes written essays, interviews, and classroom observation. The Teacher of the Year winners and runners-up are selected by a six-member committee made up of previous District Teachers of the Year. All district winners have the option to apply for the county-wide award program.

This year’s winners are:

  • Claudia Sanchez-Guevara, fifth-grade, Bethune K-8. She had such an impact on her fourth-grade students, that they successfully petitioned to have her become their fifth grade teacher.  There is little question Sanchez-Guevara has a tremendous impact on her students. She relates to them. She cares for them. She sets high expectations for them.
  • Vanessa Hart, six- and seventh-grade English, De Portola Middle. She strives to create a relaxed, fun environment so that students feel comfortable and aren’t afraid to take risks with their learning. Hart uses a lot of historical fiction to fuel compassion, and will often turn lessons into games in order to motivate students to learn.
  • Jean-Paul Balmat, music teacher, Mission Bay High. He became a music teacher because of the influence his own music teacher had on him when he was a student at Mission Bay. If there was ever any doubt about the impact a teacher can have on a student, Balmat is proof. He shares his love of music with students and teaches them about more than just notes on a page. He teaches music concepts, leadership, respect and how to carry oneself like a professional musician.

This year’s runners up are:

  • Robert Daluraya, science prep, Hickman Elementary
  • Denise Tayco, seventh-grade science, Pershing Middle
  • Jaime Brown, 12th-grade IB English and IB film, San Diego High School of International Studies

Bios and photos are available for Teachers of the Year and runners up.

In addition to the Teachers of the Year, there is a reception prior to the special Board of Education meeting, starting at 4:15 p.m. Students from San Diego Unified's award-winning culinary arts programs at Garfield and Morse high schools are prepping and serving appetizers and desserts. The string quartet from Patrick Henry High School will provide entertainment. 

SPONSORS: California Coast Credit Union, California Schools VEBA,, Mission Federal Credit Union, San Diego Education Association, San Diego Education Fund, San Diego Unified – College, Career and Technical Education, The San Diego Padres, The Standard, and the Art Institute of California – San Diego.

Contact: Shari Winet, communications director | 619-381-7930 |