In a surprise ceremony today at Mountain View Elementary School in Simi Valley, teacher Jamie Reese was awarded the Ventura County Teacher of the Year by Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stan Mantooth from the Ventura County Office of Education, and Simi Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Jason Peplinski.

Ms. Reese teaches a Special Day Class for K-3 grade at Mountain View Elementary School, where she’s been since 2009. Her peers, and her principal, Jennifer Goldman, nominated her for her commitment to her students and their families, and for her unending support of her fellow teachers and staff. She is known around the District for her high level of technology knowledge and willingness to help and train other teachers and staff. She helped her co-workers at Mountain View Elementary create and maintain individual websites to better the flow of communication between the classrooms and families. She has mentored new teachers through the county’s programs, produces a districtwide monthly newsletter and is a Google Certified Educator, to name just a few of her efforts.

“As a site-based administrator, there is a part of me that wants to keep her right here on campus all of the time; however, that would be a tremendous disservice to the profession,” Ms. Goldman said. “Ms. Reese possesses unlimited potential to impact countless students by sharing her vision with teachers across the country.”

Students are the highest priority for Ms. Reese. She wrote, “When I think about my views on teaching, I keep coming back to the students. I believe that teaching should be student-centered, but what does that actually look like in a classroom…. I believe that by making my classroom more student centered, I am able to more frequently highlight the strengths of my students and as a direct result of that, students are excited about school and their self-esteem goes up.”

In the nomination application, one of Ms. Reese’s students said, “She makes me happy. She does things to make me laugh. She turns me into a burrito when I am mad. I can talk to her when something is bothering me. She teaches very good. She reads mindset stories to teach me not to give up.”

“We are incredibly proud of Ms. Reese and her commitment to her students, families and co-workers,” Dr. Peplinski said. “This is an amazing honor for her to receive. We are lucky to have such highly skilled and committed teachers, like Ms. Reese, in our classrooms. Her enthusiasm is contagious and she serves as a great model for other educators everywhere.”

Ms. Reese will go on to compete at the state level in 2017 for Teacher of the Year. This program has been in place since 1973 and this is the first SVUSD winner since 1977.