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News Release: San Diego Unified Names 2023 Teachers of the Year

San Diego Unified Names 2023 Teachers of the Year
Posted on 05/04/2023

Educators from Audubon Elementary, DePortola Middle, and Scripps Ranch High Schools Selected as District Teachers of the Year

May 4, 2023

SAN DIEGO – Leann Samek from Audubon Elementary School, Lee Yepiz from DePortola Middle School, and Trishaa Camp from Scripps Ranch High School have been named San Diego Unified School District’s 2023 Teachers of the Year. Jillian Salazar from Tierrasanta Elementary School, Julie Rick from Marshall Middle School, and Laurisa Murray from Mira Mesa High School have been named this year’s runners-up. 

In observance of National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8-12, these six educators will be honored at the Day of the Teacher celebration on Tuesday, May 9, at 5 p.m. during a ceremony hosted by FOX 5’s Elizabeth Alvarez. More than 150 Teachers of the Year from individual schools will also be honored. 

During Teacher Appreciation Week, San Diego Unified encourages the community to honor teachers by sharing a post, image, or video of a special educator in their life. The district challenges San Diegans to thank a teacher either in person, or on social media using the hashtag #ThankATeacherSD. 

“Every year in May, I am reminded of the immensely loving, caring, talented, and dedicated educators we employ within San Diego Unified. It never ceases to amaze me how fortunate we are to be the home of so many life-changing educators,” said Superintendent Dr. Lamont  Jackson.

“Teacher appreciation is a notion that may not be apparent but can be seen year-round. In the eyes of students…when they finally understand a concept, in a high-five when a student makes a 3-pointer during a basketball game, in the smile from a proud parent, and in the hug from a student who finally feels seen, heard, and a sense of belonging,” Dr. Jackson said. “Tiny moments of joy throughout the year are made possible because of our educators. Our outstanding Teachers of the Year represent these magic moments and the successes of each of our students.”

The Day of the Teacher celebration is recognized by the Board of Education every year. Board members and senior district staff, community leaders, and elected officials from the region take part in honoring the distinguished educators. The in-person ceremony will feature original student-created content performed by students from the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and Scripps Ranch High School. 

Teacher of the Year candidates go through a rigorous selection process, first being selected by the staff members at their school, then a panel including former Teachers of the Year.  San Diego Unified’s teachers of the year and runners-up may advance to compete for San Diego County Teacher of the Year honors.   

This year’s event is co-hosted by North Island Credit Union. “We are honored to co-host the 2023 San Diego Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year program that provides well-deserved recognition to these exceptional educators,” said North Island Credit Union President and CEO Steve O’Connell. “Serving the education community for 90 years, we understand the unfailing commitment and dedication our teachers bring to their classrooms and their students. We are deeply grateful to our teachers for everything they do, every day, to make a lasting difference in a child’s life. We congratulate this year’s award recipients and nominees and applaud the innovative ways they bring learning to life for their students.”

Additional sponsors of the event are California Coast Credit Union, California Schools VEBA, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit, Mission Federal Credit Union, M2 Video Productions, University of California, San Diego, San Diego Education Association, and the San Diego Education Fund.

For more information on this year’s winners and on the San Diego Unified Teacher of the Year celebration, please visit: https://cutt.ly/2023TOY

MEDIA CONTACT: Isabella McNeil, San Diego Unified, Teacher of the Year Coordinator, 619-341-2343