Six Sweetwater District Teachers of the Year Move on to SD County Competition

This September, six Sweetwater District teachers of the year will compete with nearly 37 other San Diego County teachers at the Annual Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers Gala. Out of the 43 total teachers, only five will move forward to be named San Diego County Teacher of the Year.

The Salute to Teachers Gala is an Academy Awards-style ceremony that will be held at Balboa Theatre downtown and is broadcast live on local cable TV.

The 2018 Sweetwater District Teachers of the Year are:

  • Tara Taylor, Exploring Computer Science, Exploring Technology, Blended Learning Specialist, Exploring Arts, Power Reading, English Teacher (Eastlake Middle School).
  • Gina Saclauso Caro, 7th and 8th Grade Science (Chula Vista Middle School).
  • Katina Rondeau, Special Education Teacher (Hilltop High School Learning Center).
  • Louise E. Williamson, Restorative Practices Resource Leader and Peer Counseling Teacher, (Hilltop High School).
  • Sesha Haynes, Integrated Math and Transitions/Health in Fundamentals Teacher (Sweetwater High School).
  • Maria Elena Galleher, AP Government, Peer Mediation, Food and Nutrition through Gardening; Spanish, Mexican-American Studies Teacher (Chula Vista High School).

The finalists were selected by their schools to represent the Sweetwater Union High School District at the county level based on student achievement, professional development and community involvement, teaching philosophy, knowledge of current issues in education, promotion and development of the teaching profession, accountability, and ability to serve as ambassadors of education.

For Tara Taylor, hopes in her role as a Computer Science Teacher the enthusiasm she has for computer science spreads to other teachers and students, positively impacting the futures of generations to come.

“When we address the emotional well-being of a child through restorative practices, we can prevent acts of aggression,” said Maria Elena Galleher. “In a healthier communication space, my students benefit from increased school safety and a strong community safety net. “

Sesha Haynes says she was born to be a teacher and that teaching is a journey and a great journey it has been. As a math teacher she has found that her daily goal is that her students walk into class where they know more than anything that their teacher believes in them and will do anything it takes to make them successful. “No question is dumb,” says Haynes.

Last fall, Louise E. Williamson, held a Civic Academy, where hundreds of educators discussed the impact immigration policies have on students. Williamson believes: our love transforms the world.

For Katina Rondeau, education was what broke the welfare cycle she was once a part of. “Education is the only thing in life that will afford my students the opportunity to lift them from adverse circumstances.” She believes that education is free to all with some self-discipline, determination and dedication.

Gina Saclauso Caro teaches science and says her classroom is where hard work and integrity are rewarded, shared responsibility and accountability is expected, and mistakes are forgiven, failure is not an option, and love abounds for everyone.

The 28th Annual “Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers,” will be televised LIVE from the Balboa Theatre on September 15, 2018, in the evening! Tune in or purchase tickets to see if one of these six Sweetwater District teachers will be named San Diego County Teacher of the Year!