A great honor

Lo­cal ed­u­ca­tor puts Cas­taic on the state map with Teacher of the Year recog­ni­tion

The Signal - - FRONT PAGE - By Christina Cox Sig­nal Staff Re­porter

With piles of con­fetti, flow­ers, hugs and cheers, North­lake Hills Ele­men­tary cel­e­brated the suc­cess of first and sec­ond grade teacher Erin Ox­horn-Gilpin Thurs­day morn­ing after she was named a 2018 Cal­i­for­nia State Teacher of the Year.

“I wanted to con­grat­u­late Mrs. Ox­horn-Gilpin on be­com­ing the Cal­i­for­nia State Teacher of the Year, it is such a big ac­com­plish­ment,” said Suzanne Graff, a sec­ond grade teacher at Live Oak Ele­men­tary and pres­i­dent of the Cas­taic Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

“We’re thrilled and so proud of you.”

On Wed­nes­day, Ox­horn-Gilpin was one of five teach­ers se­lected by the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and State Su­per­in­ten­dent of Public In­struc­tion Tom Tor­lak­son to rep­re­sent the state of Cal­i­for­nia as a 2018 Teacher of the Year.

“There are 300,000 teach­ers in the state of Cal­i­for­nia and Mrs. Ox­horn is one of the top teach­ers in the whole en­tire state,” Prin­ci­pal Erin Au­gusta said. “What I love is the state rec­og­nized what an awe­some teacher she is. We are su­per proud of you.”

Dur­ing the school-wide cel­e­bra­tion, col­leagues and friends were moved to tears as they rev­eled in the suc­cess of one of their own.

“As a co-worker Erin truly, truly ex­em­pli­fies what a teacher is and why the kids love com­ing to school,” fel­low North­lake Hills Ele­men­tary Teacher Jennifer Flores said. “I’m con­stantly learn­ing from her. It’s such a plea­sure to work with her and she truly is a bless­ing to this school and a bless­ing to her stu­dents.”

Janene Maxon, the district’s As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent of Ed­u­ca­tional Ser­vices, pre­sented Ox­hornGilpin with a bright yel­low, smi­ley face bal­loon which she said rep­re­sented the spirit of Ox­horn-Gilpin.

“I found this bal­loon and it to­tally ex­em­pli­fies Mrs. Ox­horn,” Maxon said. “In even some of the most dif­fi­cult strug­gles or chal­lenges you will al­ways see a smile on her face be­cause she knows what she does makes a dif­fer­ence.”

For­mer stu­dents also cel­e­brated Ox­horn-Gilpin, whose cre­ativ­ity and hands-on lessons made learn­ing the ba­sics of read­ing and writ­ing fun.

“She changed by view of learn­ing. When­ever I was in her class­room I wanted to learn some­thing, I wanted to know some­thing new and she made that fun. She made a great year out of learn­ing,” fifth grade stu­dent Michael Schu­bert said. “I think she won this award not just be­cause she is an amaz­ing teacher, but she gets stu­dents ex­cited to learn and they stay ex­cited to learn through­out all their years of school.”

Ox­horn-Gilpin cred­ited her own suc­cess to the sup­port she re­ceived from “her village” that in­cluded district per­son­nel, the CUSD Gov­ern­ing Board, North­lake Hills Ele­men­tary staff, her fel­low teach­ers, Mrs. Au­gusta, her fam­ily and her stu­dents.

“Be­ing teacher of the year means I get to talk a lot about be­ing a teacher and what makes my heart happy as a teacher,” she said. “When I talk about teach­ing and what it means to me and what I say is to be a teacher, and to be a good teacher, you need a strong village to sup­port you.”

The Teacher of the Year was also happy that her recog­ni­tion also put the Cas­taic District, and North­lake Hills Ele­men­tary, on the map.

“There’s about 6,000 schools in Cal­i­for­nia that are ele­men­tary schools and there is one ele­men­tary school to­day that gets to cel­e­brate and it’s us,” Ox­horn-Gilpin said. “To­day our lit­tle dot on the map as Cas­taic grew re­ally big.”

Ryan Painter/The Sig­nal

North­lake Hills Ele­men­tary stu­dents shower Erin Ox­horn-Gilpin in con­fetti at her school­wide cel­e­bra­tion on Thurs­day.

Ryan Painter/The Sig­nal

Stu­dents at North­lake Hills El­men­tary School wait eagely to suprise their teacher, 2018 Cal­i­for­nia Teacher of the Year win­ner Erin Ox­horn-Gilpin, at her con­grat­u­la­tory cer­e­mony on Thurs­day.

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