Top teacher’s class impresses state schools superintendent
The visit, taped for a video feed for the school’s Web site, was a first from a state superintendent of public instruction for Principal Mary McKeon. “We were so excited when we heard he was coming. It was great to hear him talk to the kids and be so personable,” McKeon said. Countryman, a teacher with 19 years of classroom experience, said she was glad her children had the chance to meet O’Connell. “This is another role model they have gotten a chance to learn about and meet,” she said. Countryman said it was satisfying to have her students hear from a statewide elected official that what they do in the classroom means a lot outside it. “It’s important for children to understand that what transpires in the classroom transcends into the community and the state,” Countryman said. “This allows them to make that connection.” Countryman and the other four California Teachers of the Year will be honored Jan. 8 at a dinner in Sacramento. [email protected] (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VALENCIA – “Passionate” and “enthusiastic” were among words used Monday by Jack O’Connell, state superintendent of public instruction, to describe students and staffers during his visit to Tesoro Del Valle Elementary School. “These are special people, and they are all very passionate, enthusiastic and committed to education,” O’Connell said. He visited the school to give in-person congratulations to fifth-grade teacher Dawna Countryman, selected last month as one of five California Teachers of the Year. O’Connell said he is aware of Santa Clarita’s tradition of excellence in schools, and he called Tesoro del Valle an example of that tradition. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“There are very good schools in the Santa Clarita area,” he said. “There is a lot of energy and growth, and development in the area helps.” Countryman’s energetic fifth-graders – she likes to call them her scholars – stole the show as they questioned O’Connell on everything from how many hours he works in a week to how he keeps track of more than 9,000 schools in the state. The young scholars also were quick to shower praise on their teacher. “I’ll always remember the fifth grade because of Mrs. Countryman,” Abby Phillips said. “She makes everything fun,” classmate Eric Evangelista said.