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July 21
1952 - 7.5-magnitude Kern County earthquake devastates Tehachapi; damage spread from San Diego to Las Vegas [story]
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William S. Hart High School science teacher Paula Bae has been named Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year.

Bae, William S. Hart Union High School District Teacher of the Year, was honored as one of the top 16 teachers in L.A. County by the L.A. County Office of Education on Sept. 23.

She will now advance with other county representatives from around the state to the California Teachers of the Year competition this fall.

“It is an honor to be selected as the Hart District’s teacher of the year, especially knowing the caliber of teachers I work with,” said Bae. “I am so thankful for the kind, hard-working, and creative students that I get to work with each day. My students inspire me to keep improving my practice and I hope my award can, in turn, help to inspire them to reach their potential. I also hope my recognition as the District’s teacher of the year will help to put a spotlight on all the great teaching that happens throughout the district.”

The 16 L.A. County teachers were selected from a field of 66 teachers representing 62 school districts who participated in the 41st annual Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year competition, organized by the L.A. County Office of Education. All participants were recently selected as teachers of the year by their respective school districts.

Each of the 16 finalists received a cash gift of $1,000 from the California Credit Union, the program’s platinum sponsor.

In addition to being interviewed, contestants submitted essays, lesson plans and other materials to judging panels comprised of previous teachers of the year. At all levels, teachers of the year contests are designed to focus public attention on teaching excellence and to honor the exemplary dedication, compelling classroom practices, positive accomplishments and professional commitment.

Bae’s accomplishment marks the fourth year in a row, and fifth in the last seven years, the Hart District has had a County Teacher of the Year. she has a strong track record in curriculum, having created a robust Human Anatomy curriculum for Hart High School and the district as a whole. Bae also helped create the college prep and honors level classes for students who have a love for the field of medical science.

The state is scheduled to announce the five California Teachers of the Year in October, but only one of those state co-winners will be chosen to represent California in the National Teacher of the Year contest next spring.

“The teaching profession is integral to the fabric of our society; that has been more evident than ever in recent years when more than 140,000 U.S. children have lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the few consistencies for children during unprecedented times has been the connection with their teacher and classmates,” said L.A. County Superintendent Debra Duardo, M.S.W., Ed.D. “Teachers have sustained students and families with their incredible capacity to nurture and empathize with the tragedies our students often confront. It is one of the greatest honors our office to recognize some of the most exceptional educators in our county.”

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