2019-20 Teachers of the Year
Three teachers in OUSD schools have been selected as District Teachers of the Year for 2019.
Congratulations to Precious James, David Ramirez and Tontra Love!
4th/5th Grade Teacher
Madison Park Academy (MPA)
MPA teacher Precious James teaches a combination class of what she calls “student heroes”. A huge proponent of the district value of putting Students First, she says her purpose is the kids, period. And she advocates for them “by any means necessary,” as Malcolm X said.
As the mathematics all-grade team lead, and team lead for grades 3-5 at MPA, she oversees a mathematics intervention program and is proudly co-creating generations of mathematicians. It is her mission to foster and produce superheroes who use their imaginations, explain their solutions, look for patterns, explore their local and global community, communicate and share their ideas, and use their toolboxes of problem-solving strategies to prove or disprove their own theories.
Ms. James also teaches in the grades 3-5 Reading Intervention, Late Bird Program. She does not believe in “idle time” when students are facing life or death as a result of their reading ability; therefore, students and teachers are engaged in grade level, standards-based, and rigorous instruction concentrated in conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real-world application.
Ms. James wholeheartedly believes it is her duty to provide all students with a learner’s stance, in that, they are always seeking out learning and shaping it for themselves.
Thank you Ms. James and congratulations on being selected an OUSD Teacher of the Year!
Urban Promise Academy (UPA)
David Ramirez believes that teachers have the capacity and the ability to change lives; that’s a responsibility he does not take lightly. As such, he has immersed himself in the UPA community not only as a beloved 8th grade math and algebra teacher, but as a District Instructional Leadership Team member, School Leadership Team member, Department Chair of Math and Science, School Site Council member, UPA/Fruitvale Aim High Site Director, and OEA Union Representative.
Mr. Ramirez also serves as the Outdoor Wildness Coordinator, organizing overnight trips for students and is Crew Coordinator, responsible for creating social emotional lesson plans.
He believes his responsibility as a teacher is not only to provide standard-based instruction but to instill in his students the habits that will help them become well-rounded individuals and leaders in their community. Mr. Ramirez knows that every student is capable and it is his duty as their teacher to guide them in discovering their strengths and build their self-confidence. He connects what students are learning to their everyday lives, highlighting the bridges between the content they are learning and the purpose it has in their lives. He is adamant that students should learn and be assessed based on a variety of modalities rather than standardized testing. He believes in ultimate assessments such as projects with different ways of learning, academic discussions, and open-ended questions to assess knowledge.
Thank you Mr. Ramirez and congratulations on being selected an OUSD Teacher of the Year!
Transitional Kindergarten Teacher
Transitional Kindergarten (TK) teacher Tontra Love plays an integral part in shaping the educational experience of OUSD’s youngest students and she relishes that opportunity. Her classroom is a place where students feel safe, loved and challenged, and she actively contributes to the love of learning that will stay with them throughout their lives. Ms. Love’s TK students move on to kindergarten with a strong academic and civic foundation, already accountable for making their community and their extended world a better place.
Ms. Love is also a member of the Diversity Committee —helping to make key decisions about curriculum, strategic direction, and professional development—and the Hiring Committee —assisting with teacher and principal hiring.
She knows that schools are most successful when the community is involved so she actively engages with community members, frequently inviting them to share their experiences as classroom guests Ms. Love also believes that teachers are the protectors of childhood and that the social/emotional health and well-being of our students is the most critical element for their success in life. Kids need time to play, explore, discover, and learn and Ms. Love ensures that her students have ample time for all of it.
Thank you Ms. Love and congratulations on being selected an OUSD Teacher of the Year!