By Pixie Sulser
Three Ramona teachers were recently honored as Educators of the Year by the San Diego Region of the California League of Middle Schools and the California League of High Schools.
Eighth-grade English Language Arts teacher Jamie King represented Olive Peirce Middle School as one of the nine educators
honored from around San Diego County while Ramona High teachers Rebecca Geiger and Erin O’Connor shared the honor at the high school level.
Geiger and O’Connor, both in their fourth year of teaching, will represent the San Diego region at the statewide competition in Sacramento later this spring. RHS Principal Tony Newman refers to these two teachers as “rock stars” because of their dedication and energetic efforts to engage their students in meaningful lessons on a daily basis.
“Their leadership and influence on our campus reaches far beyond the walls of each of their classrooms,” he said. “They are both teacher leaders and student oriented professionals.”
Newman describes Geiger, teacher of 9th and 10th grade English Language Arts, and O’Connor, a biology teacher, as educators who enhance the learning environment not just for the students sitting in their own classrooms but for all students. They have been collaborating and sharing ways to help students achieve since they arrived on the RHS campus in 2010, he said.
Their agreed upon philosophy is that “engaging students in their own learning is one of the best methods to affect change in the students’ lives.”
In addition to the enthusiasm and expertise Geiger and O’Connor bring to the RHS campus, they provide professional workshops for other educators throughout San Diego.
OPMS Principal Linda Solis was especially proud of King’s honor.
“I have known Jamie since she was a seventh-grade student at OPMS,” she said. “I have watched her grow and blossom into a beautiful young lady, a terrific wife and mother, and an amazing middle level teacher.”
In her nomination letter, Solis lauded King for the valuable relationships she builds with her students as well as for being a leader of other professionals in and out of Ramona.
In her award’s speech, King, a teacher for 12 years and former OPMS Teacher of the Year, described herself as just a small town girl who made the conscious decision to raise her own family in the same town where she had grown up and to give back to the same schools that had helped shape her career choice.
She spoke of the importance of building meaningful relationships with her students which, in turn, allows her to involve her classes in meaningful learning.
“Jamie represented Ramona teachers beautifully in a crowded room of professionals representing middle level education all across the entire county and delivered a compelling speech about children, teachers, and the critical importance of middle level education,” Ramona Unified School District Superintendent Robert Graeff said in his announcement to all district employees after attending the awards ceremony. “And a royal congratulations to Ramona High teachers Rebecca Geiger and Erin O’Connor who were honored not only as Co-Educators of the Year for the San Diego County Region of the California League of High Schools, but who will also represent our region at the next level of statewide competition in Sacramento later this spring. Honored with Jamie at the same function, these two powerful teachers were remarkable in their presentation to the organization focusing on the support that all educators require and enjoy in the execution of their professional responsibilities.”
Graeff thanked the three teachers “for their outstanding service to Ramona’s students — and to those fellow teachers, administrators, and support staff who help them maintain and increase their effectiveness on a daily basis.”