Sean O'Brien of West Ranch High School takes top high school educator honors.
The California League of High Schools has named Sean O’Brien, the English Department chair at West Ranch High School, its 2008 California High School Educator of the Year.O’Brien was selected for this recognition after an arduous process that included selection at the school level, letters of recommendation, essays that he wrote on the teaching profession and a speech competition last Friday night in Monterey.
Over the past few months Sean has been recognized as West Ranch High School 2007-2008 Teacher of the Year, William S. Hart Union High School District 2007-2008 Teacher of the Year, Los Angeles County 2007-2008 Teacher of the Year, California League of High Schools Region 8 (Los Angeles County) 2008 Educator of the Year and California League of High Schools 2008 State Educator of the Year.
“Sean exemplifies the very best of the teaching profession,” said West Ranch Principal Bob Vincent in making the announcement to local education officials.
O’Brien is a 15–year educator dedicated to students, colleagues and community. As a founding staff member at West Ranch High School, he was instrumental in establishing the campus vision. As English Department chair, he built the program, helping create curriculum and hire staff members.
As an expert in differentiated, standards-based instruction, O’Brien makes honors and Advanced Placement courses open to all students in his department. As a result of his leadership, open access to college preparatory courses is now a school-wide priority and English learners and students with special needs enroll in advanced courses.
He uses team teaching, looping and other innovative practices to connect with students and support their learning, according to Vincent. As a mentor teacher, Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment provider, Peer Assistance and Review consulting teacher and district professional development trainer, O’Brien establishes long-term goals tied to student achievement and teacher effectiveness.
He trains colleagues in research-based, student-centered strategies such as Cornell Notes, differentiated instruction, Schaffer writing and team teaching, resulting in significant score increases on the state’s Academic Performance Indicator. In addition to his classroom responsibilities, Vincent noted that O’Brian is a published author, the school’s accreditation self study coordinator and head junior varsity football coach.
“Sean teaches more than just athletic skills,” Vincent commented. “He also models the importance of character. Sean always finds ways to connect his curriculum to issues outside his classroom walls.”