Parr becomes one of "Sweet Sixteen" best at county level.
Christine Parr, an English language
development teacher at Placerita
School, is one of 16 winners announced today as the 2008-09 Los Angeles
County Teachers of the Year, representing the profession’s “best of the best”
in the largest honors competition for educators in the state.
“Actually we were told a long time ago, but had to keep it a
secret,” Parr revealed to KHTS. The honor, even though it was covert for so
long, still gave her a warm feeling in the classroom.
“It validated what I do even more,” she said. “It’s nice to
be recognized for all the things I do in my classroom.”
Parr doesn’t just work with students; as an English language
development instructor at Placerita, she works with students, counselors and
parents to round out the learning experience.
“I work with newcomers and those students who are not at
grade level,” she explained.
While she relishes her job, she started out with a slightly
“When I went to school, I was an English major and loved
literature. I wanted to teach high school English and share my love of
literature with my students. I started at Canyon High and after awhile, I felt
like this wasn’t what I was really cut out to do.”
A summer assignment in an ELL class helped her find her
“You can really see your progress with these students,” she
said. “You have a deep connection with them and they really need you. It’s
Parr will find out if she is part of the next “cut,” those
teachers who are finalists for State Teacher of the Year. That list will be
revealed in November.
The L.A. County Teachers of the Year Program,
presented by the Los Angeles County Office of Education, is the largest
regional competition in the state and is part of the nation’s oldest and most
prestigious honors contest for public school teachers. The number of winners —
16 — is determined by program rules based on the total number of teachers
(80,000) in L.A. County.
“These 16 teachers are dedicated men and
women who have the opportunity of making a positive difference in the lives of
their students — and who every day make the most of that precious opportunity,”
said Robles about the group, each of whom received a $1,000 cash prize courtesy
of the California Credit Union, the program’s main sponsor.
Contestants submitted essays, lesson plans
and other materials to judging panels comprised of peers, in addition to
undergoing personal interviews. At all levels, TOY contests are designed to
focus public attention on teaching excellence and to honor exemplary
dedication, compelling classroom practices, positive accomplishments and
L.A. County’s winners automatically advance with other
county titlists from around the state to the California Teachers of the Year
competition this fall. The state is scheduled to announce its five co-winners
in November, and one of those state co-winners will be chosen to represent California in the National Teacher of the Year contest