The Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE) is pleased to announce that Eva Cherrie from Elmhurst Elementary School in the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) is the 2020 Ventura County Teacher of the Year. Cherrie found out about the honor today when she joined her colleagues at the school for a year-end drive-through celebration for staff. She had no idea she was there to be named Teacher of the Year until her principal surprised the crowd – which included her parents, husband and kids – with the news.
Cherrie currently teaches second grade at Elmhurst and has been teaching at the elementary and middle school levels since 2002. “She is the kind of teacher that every district desires, every principal appreciates, and that all students and parents love,” said Deanna Baczek, Principal at Elmhurst Elementary. Baczek said students in Cherrie’s class learn much more than academics. “You’re learning that to grow your brain you must persevere when challenged, and to be a good human you must practice kindness and understanding, and that you can always find wonder in the world around you. This is modeled by Mrs. Cherrie every single day.”
Baczek says Cherrie is consistently stepping up to do whatever she can to help students. For example, when school campuses closed due to COVID-19, Cherrie volunteered to create online lessons for the entire district to use. Cherrie was instrumental in setting up Elmhurst’s science lab and makerspace by working with colleagues to purchase and organize necessary equipment. She has also been using the school’s 3D printers to create plastic face shields for healthcare workers during the coronavirus crisis. And she brought an innovative bird watching program to Elmhurst after winning a grant to attend an ornithology training program at Cornell University.
After nearly twenty years in the classroom, Cherrie offers advice to help teachers hold on to the enthusiasm and idealism they had when they were new to the profession. She says teachers should find mentors for support and inspiration, constantly evaluate how they can better serve their students and embrace the inevitable changes they face each year. “We ask students to try new things, so we as teachers should also have an attitude that new things will only enrich our students and our teaching experience,” she said.
“The disruption to in-class learning brought on by the coronavirus has shown the tremendous impact teachers have,” said Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stan Mantooth. “Eva Cherrie is a perfect example of a teacher who goes above and beyond to make a positive difference in the lives of her students, and we are extremely proud to honor her as the 2020 Ventura County Teacher of the Year.”
Cherrie was selected as Ventura County Teacher of the Year by a committee of local educators. She is now eligible to be considered for the 2021 California Teacher of the Year award. Cherrie received her bachelor’s degree from CSU Northridge and her Master of Education from Pepperdine University.
The dignitaries who were on hand to honor Cherrie today included Stan Mantooth, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools; Dr. Roger Rice, VUSD Superintendent; Sabrena Rodriguez, VUSD Board of Education President; Jerry Dannenberg, VUSD Board of Education member; and Deanna Baczek, Elmhurst Elementary School Principal.
More About the Teacher of the Year Program
The Teacher of the Year program is administered by the Ventura County Office of Education. Candidates are nominated by their district, school or professional organization. A panel of educators selects the winner based on the candidate’s essay, experience and an introductory letter from their sponsor. The first Ventura County Teacher of the Year was named in 1973. Additional information about the Teacher of the Year program, including a list of past honorees, is available by clicking here.
About the Ventura County Office of Education
The Ventura County Office of Education provides a broad array of fiscal, training and technology support services to local school districts, helping to maintain and improve lifelong educational opportunities for children, educators and community members. VCOE also operates schools that serve students with severe disabilities and behavioral issues, provides career education courses, and coordinates countywide academic competitions including Mock Trial and the Ventura County Science Fair. Learn more at: www.vcoe.org.