Preuss educator one of five ‘California Teachers of the Year’


Two local educators are among five “California Teachers of the Year” named today by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, who chose one of the San Diego honorees for a national competition.

Kelly Kovacic teaches social studies at The Preuss School at UC San Diego, a charter school that provides education that focuses on preparing low-income students for college.

O'Connell selected Kovacic to represent California in the “National Teacher of the Year” competition.

The other local honoree is Melanie Tolan, who teaches English-language arts, history and physical education at the Sarah Anthony School in San Diego, which serves youth detained at Juvenile Hall. She previously taught at the Toussaint Academy, a school located at Father Joe’s Villages homeless shelter for teens.

The five “California Teachers of the Year” will be honored at a Jan.

25 dinner in Sacramento.

“Our five California Teachers of the Year are outstanding educators and amazing instructional leaders,” O'Connell said. “Each Teacher of the Year has many stories to tell about overcoming obstacles, achieving goals and igniting inspiration.

“I am honored to congratulate each of them, and I hope that their successes will encourage other educators and aspiring teachers who are working hard each day to make a difference in students’ lives,’’ he added.

He said Kovacic is well positioned to represent the state at the national level. competition.

“Ms. Kovacic is an exceptionally knowledgeable and effective teacher,” O'Connell said. “She demonstrates an unparalleled passion and commitment to her students and school community that extends beyond the school day and the school yard.”

The “National Teacher of the Year” winner will be selected in the spring of 2010 by the Council of Chief State School Officers and later honored at a White House ceremony.

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