Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin, a first- and second-grade multi-subject teacher at Northlake Hills Elementary School in the Castaic Union School District, is one of five extraordinary educators named a 2018 California Teacher of the Year Wednesday by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
“Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin uses creativity and hands-on lessons to teach her students the basics of reading and writing—one example being a unit on snails where students learned about them via a picture book, snail races, and snail mail,” Torlakson said in a statement.
“Her students were inspired to give back to the community after receiving Chromebooks through a local grant, and organized a fundraiser for the local animal shelter, donating the money raised and learning how they could continue their partnership,” he said.
“Teaching is an ever-evolving profession, requiring teachers to embrace change and a growth mindset,” Oxhorn-Gilpin said. “I strengthen and improve the teaching profession because I never lose sight of what is best for my students. I always put kids first!”
“Erin is a true champion for every child and makes the most of every moment with her kids,” said Northlake Elementary Principal Erin Augusta. “She brings a passion for teaching and the teaching profession to Northlake Hills. She infuses problem-solving, critical thinking and technology into all her lessons. Whatever the activity is…it is a joyful one and full of learning! Students and parents are thrilled to be a part of the Room 8 ‘family.’ We are beyond proud of Erin and her well-deserved honor.”
“Erin recognizes needs and moves forward,” said CUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Janene Maxon. “It is that ‘moving forward’ attitude that makes her one of the best teachers ever! Erin is always reflective, always thinking of ways in which to improve planning next steps for our students’ continued progress.”
Oxhorn-Gilpin was also chosen one of the “Sweet 16” out of 61 teachers by the Los Angeles County Office of Education in September.
Torlakson, who began his career as a science teacher and coach, said he is pleased to honor all five outstanding and talented teachers who have made a great impact in their schools and communities.
The other four Teachers of the Year Torlakson named Wednesday are:
* Brian McDaniel, who teaches music (band and choir) to students in sixth through eighth grade at Painted Hills Middle School, Palm Springs Unified School District in Desert Hot Springs, Riverside County.
Torlakson also nominated McDaniel as California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. McDaniel will compete against other state nominees, and a 2018 National Teacher of the Year will be named in the spring.
* Jaime Brown, who teaches International Baccalaureate English and Film Studies to 12th-graders at San Diego High School of International Studies, San Diego Unified in Santee, San Diego County.
* Kirsten Farrell, who teaches sports medicine to 9th through 12th grade at Venice High School, Los Angeles Unified in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County.
* Gregory Gardiner, who teaches Advanced Placement and Special Abilities Cluster environmental science, and biology to 9th through 12-grade students at Edison High School, Huntington Beach Union School District in Huntington Beach, Orange County.
“These teachers are deeply committed, hard-working, and creative,” he said. “They help students find their inner strengths and achieve their dreams, while inspiring, challenging, and supporting them every day. They represent the best of their profession.”
Presented by California Casualty and the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage new teachers to enter the profession.”
County offices of education nominate California Teachers of the Year winners through their county-level competitions. A state selection committee reviews candidates’ applications and conducts site visits to evaluate the teachers’ rapport with students, classroom environment, presentation skills, and teaching techniques.
The teachers are interviewed by the California Department of Education. The State Superintendent then selects the five awardees.
Torlakson will honor the 2018 California Teachers of the Year, finalists, and semifinalists at a gala to be held in Sacramento on February 12, 2018.
Torlakson, who issued a “Change Lives — Be a Teacher” proclamation when he served as Acting Governor last year, said these teachers will be great ambassadors for the profession.
Due to California’s teacher shortage, he said, it is important to get the word out about the rewards of being a teacher.
“Teaching isn’t just a job. It isn’t just a career. It’s a calling,” he said. “It’s a commitment to your community, your students, and most of all, a commitment to the future.”
Visit the Teach California website for more information.
For more details on the award program, visit the CDE’s California Teachers of the Year webpage.