Local ‘Teachers of the Year’ go the extra mile

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A middle school math teacher who shuttles students around in her personal vehicle and a former chiropractor who became an elementary school teacher were among the five educators selected San Diego County Teachers of the Year.

John Berray of Santee’s West Hills High School; Mary Goins of Lakeside Middle School; Sara Matthews of the Sarah Anthony School inside the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility; Khamphet Pease of Wilson Middle School in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood; and Maria Teran-Cruz of Jefferson Elementary School in Carlsbad were named the the 2014-15 winners during the “Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers” ceremony at the Balboa Theatre Saturday night.

The winners were chosen from a pool of 42 nominees for the annual award based on student achievement, teaching philosophy, familiarity with current issues in education and community involvement, according to the San Diego County Office of Education.

Berray, a math teacher, has made his classroom fun by urging his students to see beauty of mathematics, officials said. He also encourages the students of West Hills High School to understand the correlation between their education and the rest of their lives.

As an art teacher, Goins has changed students’ perception of the class from an “easy A” to a rigorous and engaging subject, according to the San Diego County Office of Education. She also allows her students to raise questions and make suggestions.

Officials noted that there is no typical day in Matthews’ science classroom, because her eighth to 12th grade students at the Juvenile Detention Facility may stay in class for a day or for months. She stresses that through hardship, youths can choose to be resilient.

Pease teaches math, computers, gateway to technology and robotics and is said to hold her students to a high standard. She often drives her students to activities in her minivan — known as the “Pease Mobile,” officials said.

Teran-Cruz escaped civil war in Nicaragua, became a chiropractor and eventually a teacher. Officials said she works to instill in her fourth grade class that education is more than academics; it’s also learning to live with honor and dedication.

Berray, Goins, Mathews, Pease and Teran-Cruz will next compete in the California Teacher of the Year program, officials said. The state winner is expected to be announced later this year.

Categories: KUSI