Megan Gross of Del Norte High School. Photo via
Megan Gross of Del Norte High School. Photo via

A pair of North County educators were named Wednesday by the state Department of Education as two of five California Teachers of the Year.

Megan Gross works with autistic students at Del Norte High School in 4S Ranch, and Yun “Jenny” Tzu Anderson teaches the so-called STEM subjects at the Casita Center for Technology, Science and Math in Vista.

Gross will go on to represent California in the national Teacher of the Year competition. She’s worked in special education for the Poway Unified School District since 2013.

Jenny Anderson of Casita Center for Technology, Science and Math. Photo via county Office of Education

“Mrs. Gross has worked diligently to create a positive, inclusive and productive learning environment for her students,” said Del Norte Principal Greg Mizel. “Relational, reflective, humorous, generous with her time, and committed to helping each and every one of her students thrive and succeed, we feel blessed to have her on staff.”

Anderson has been at the Casita Center for two years. She also teaches a fourth-grade journalism class where students produce a morning newscast, and runs a flexible learning space entitled the Design, Research, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Science — or DREAMS — Lab where students learn computer coding.

Laura Smith, Casita principal, said teachers around the county are modeling their STEM labs after Anderson’s DREAMS Lab.

Others honored by the state today were:

  • Shaun Bunn, an eighth-grade math instructor in Menifee, in Riverside County.
  • Corinne Traynor, a fifth-grade multi-subject teacher in Placer County.
  • And Isela Lieber, who teaches English, English as a Second Language and ESL science to ninth- and 10th-graders at James Monroe High School in the North Hills section of Los Angeles.

“I am pleased to honor five dedicated and hardworking teachers who use their creativity and talents every day to make a huge difference in their classrooms,” said Tom Torlakson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction.

“These inspiring and innovative teachers enrich the lives of our students while helping them to succeed in 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said. “These teachers represent the best of their profession and serve as great examples.”

After the various counties in California select their teachers of the year, a state selection committee reviews their applications and conducts site visits to evaluate their rapport with students, classroom environment, presentation skills and teaching methods.

The teachers are also interviewed by officials with the state Department of Education. Torlakson then selects the five awardees.

The state Teachers of the Year, finalists and semifinalists will be honored at a gala in February in Sacramento.

— City News Service