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San Diego County announces 2022-23 Teachers of the Year

2022-23 San Diego County Teachers of the Year
Posted at 12:56 PM, Aug 27, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The San Diego County Office of Education announced Friday night the five educators who will represent the county as its 2022-23 Teachers of the Year.

The following educators were named the 2022-23 San Diego County Teachers of the Year:

  • Stephanie Cluxton — Torrey Hills Schools: Del Mar Union School District
  • Jacqueline Ma — Lincoln Acres Elementary: National School District
  • Aimee McCoy — Mes Verde Middle School: Poway Unified School District
  • Juanita Nuñez — Ocean View Hills, Sunset, Smythe, Willow and La Mirada elementary schools: San Ysidro School District
  • Melissa Rains — Castle Park Middle School: Sweetwater Union High School District

The teachers will represent the county in the California Teacher of the Year Program, and winners of the state competition will be named in September.

Dr. Paul Gothold, the superintendent of San Diego County schools, says the last few years have proven how difficult, yet fulfilling, a career in education is.

“The teachers we are celebrating here tonight are innovative in what they do and passionate about the students they serve," Gothold says. "It’s an honor to be recognizing these amazing educators and individuals.”

The San Diego County Teachers of the Year were selected from a group of 40 teachers who were nominated by their school districts for showing excellent commitment to students, teaching and lifelong learning.

The winners were picked after applications were reviewed and interviews with a panel made up of former county teachers of the year, district and county office of education administrators and a PTA representative.

"They were chosen based on school-community involvement, teaching philosophy, knowledge of current educational issues and trends, promotion and development of the teaching profession, school culture, and ability to serve as ambassadors of education," the press release says.

A one-hour TV special titled "Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers" will air at 9 p.m. on Oct. 2 on YurView Network (Cox Channel 4). The press release says the special will spotlight the teachers of the year and recognize local educators. San Diego Magazine owner and Food Network personality Troy Johnson will host the show.

You can read short biographies of the Teachers of the Year provided by the county below:

Stephanie Cluxton
Torrey Hills School (Del Mar Union School District) kindergarten teacher Stephanie Cluxton strives to create a classroom environment where students take ownership of their learning, deepen their curiosity, and discover their gifts. She believes in teaching and engaging the whole child, counting academics and social-emotional learning as equally important. Her connections with students and families go beyond the classroom to provide the best possible experiences for the young learners in her classroom.

Jacqueline Ma
Jacqueline Ma is a 6th grade teacher at Lincoln Acres Elementary in National City, part of the National School District. She considers the relationships she maintains with her students her greatest accomplishments. She has spearheaded a schoolwide STEM improvement plan, bringing in outside organizations – including the Salk Institute,

Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Fleet Science Center, and the San Diego Zoo – and providing opportunities for students to interact with professionals doing the work to better visualize a path to a rewarding STEM career.

Aimee McCoy
Aimee McCoy is an 8th grade language arts teacher and AVID coordinator at Mesa Verde Middle School, located in Poway Unified School District. She believes that allowing students to “feel valued by sharing and asking questions” is essential to the success of the whole class. She enjoys bringing the community to campus so students can learn about the range of career and educational paths they can pursue. Her encouragement and instruction inspire her students and fellow educators.

Juanita Nuñez
Juanita Nuñez is a STEM and physical education teacher across five different schools within the San Ysidro School District. She engages 370 students each week in 80-minute “Sci-Phy” classes, where a combination of science and physical education instruction is covered. Juanita grew up a child of migratory farm workers, and her early experiences have shaped her into a compassionate and inspiring educator. Those who know her say Juanita pours her heart, soul, and mind into making learning fun and meaningful for her students.

Melissa Rains
Students in Melissa Rains’ Castle Park Middle School (Sweetwater Union High School District) science class are greeted with a daily “Question of the Day” designed to gauge how they are feeling coming into class. The answers guide the first topic of conversation when class begins, and the group segues into a “mindful moment” before the science lesson of the day. Melissa believes that her connection with her students is the foundation from which they can explore and appreciate science.