• Oakland Unified's I'Asha Warfield

    Recognized as California Teacher of the Year

    Seventh grade English teacher at Frick Middle School shines as one of five California instructors named "Teachers of the Year" and state's only nominee the National Teacher of the Year competition

    I'Asha Warfield and Jerome Gourdine Oakland – November 8, 2012 – Oakland Unified's I'Asha Warfield added more hardware to her rapidly growing collection this afternoon when she was named California Teacher of the Year. The seventh grade English teacher at East Oakland's Frick Middle School was one of five teachers so recognized by the California Department of Education (CDE) and the only one chosen to represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

    This latest triumph follows earlier honors from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE), both of which named Ms. Warfield as their Teacher of the Year.

    Speaking for the State, California's Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, praised today's winners, saying: "These five wonderful teachers have shown the kind of skill, passion, and dedication that exemplify the very best of the most important, most demanding, and most rewarding profession there is: teaching. I congratulate and thank them for all the work they are doing to brighten the future of their students and our state."

    Torlakson's words were echoed by Ms. Warfield's Frick colleagues who spoke in awe of the way she transforms a classroom into a community grounded in mutual respect and high expectations. Results have followed as more than 70 percent of Ms. Warfield's students have achieved proficiency in writing at a high-poverty school that has created a culture where dignity and regard for every student is the norm.

    Frick Middle School Principal Jerome Gourdine noted that, "Ms. Warfield values student voice and instills the confidence in her students to genuinely express their ideas, thoughts and actions in a way that will improve society."

    Frick students echoed that sentiment. One of Ms. Warfield's English Language Development (ELD) students wrote to OUSD's Teacher of the Year Nomination Committee, "Writing is like my friend. Paper loves it when I write on it. Writing is to express yourself even when you don't have anyone to listen."

    I'Asha Warfield and Frick Middle School Principal Jerome Gourdine celebrate her selection as OUSD Teacher of the Year. Warfield went on to win statewide honors and is an entrant in the national competition.

    Ms. Warfield has taught English and reading intervention and world history at Frick since 2000 and works as a coach in the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program to help guide new teachers through the self-assessment process to clear their California credential. Warfield serves as a representative in Frick's Instructional Leadership Team to help determine the instructional needs of the school through data analysis and teacher feedback.

    She also works a consultant to the Bay Area Writing Project that presents teacher trainings on secondary literacy with an emphasis on writing. Her prior experience includes working as a consultant with the California Reading and Literature Project; a corps member advisor at Teacher for America Summer Institute; a collaborative teacher at the University of California, Berkeley, and Mills College; and an assistant language teacher with the Japanese Exchange Teaching Programme in Miyagi, Japan.

    Kimi Kean, Executive Officer for East Oakland schools, described Ms. Warfield as "a tremendous asset to Frick Middle School and a shining example of how relationships and rigor can create extraordinary outcomes for students.

    Similarly, Torlakson praised Ms. Warfield's practice of having students write down daily learning targets and using these goals to inform her teaching and evaluate whether students are mastering the material.

    In explaining her commitment to teaching and constant self-improvement, Ms. Warfield said, "It is my aim that students are able to use their life experiences and connect them to the world through analysis and evaluation. Simultaneously, I hope that with the skills they develop they are able to look beyond their own experience to critically and creatively engage in this world.

    To see Ms. Warfield expand on her teaching philosophy, view this video of her acceptance speech after being named Oakland Unified School District Teacher of the Year: http://youtu.be/K3F9icTyaf4


    To see the acceptance speech of OUSD's other Teacher of the Year, the equally excellent Stephen Davis, who teaches Kindergarten at Global Family Elementary School, click this link: http://youtu.be/o-QXEO2UaFY

    For more information, please contact Troy Flint at troy.flint@ousd.k12.ca.us or (510) 473-5832.