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CNUSD Teacher Receives County Honor

Teacher of the Year 2016

On Wednesday, June 3, 2015 the multipurpose room at Highland Elementary School in Norco  was filled with cheerful second graders and a very surprised teacher, Mrs. Melanie Oliver. Mrs. Oliver  received a special visit from Riverside County Superintendent Ken Young and CNUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Lin who informed her that she was selected as one of the four Riverside County Teachers of the Year for 2016.

School Board members, representatives from the District office along with Mrs. Oliver’s family were all in attendance for the big surprise.  The surprise was furtively organized by the site principal and staff at Highland Elementary to ensure that the big announcement would be a great surprise for Mrs. Oliver.

Oliver, who teaches a first/second grade combination class, was told that the assembly at Highland Elementary on Wednesday, June 3, was for a surprise visit by a television star. “But the star we are celebrating today is already in the room,” Highland Elementary Principal Jason Scott told students. “And it’s Mrs. Oliver.”

Oliver wiped away a tear as Superintendent Young read comments from her colleagues and noted community leaders who nominated her for the award. “Writing letters to veterans, wearing surgical masks and gowns, supporting the personal growth of students, and making connections with the community, these are just some of the common characteristics found in Mrs. Oliver’s classroom,” Principal Scott summarized in his letter supporting her award.

“Every year we select just four to be the Riverside County Teachers of the Year, that means that they are special and have been selected at the local district out of all of their teachers to come to the county,” said Superintendent Ken Young who also invited students from Mrs. Oliver’s class to speak.

Having taught her younger sister to read at eight years old, Oliver commented, “Every day, I have the privilege to do what I love to do and what I believe I do best. Few people get to make a living doing what they dreamed about doing when they were in third grade.”

Mrs. Oliver credited her success by describing herself as a member of a winning team by saying, “Education is not just one person doing it, it’s a team sport. I believe that with our District, teachers, secretaries, parents and students that when we come together like we do, we have a winning team and we do have a winning team.”

Oliver holds a master’s degree in education and has been a full-time teacher for 12 years—all of those at Highland Elementary in the Corona-Norco Unified School District. She is a resident of Norco and is a mentor teacher at California Baptist University, California State University, Fullerton and the University of Redlands.

To read about one of Mrs. Oliver’s engaging lessons, please read her article HERE.

The Riverside County Teachers of the Year are selected from nearly 20,000 educators in the county. The rigorous application process requires candidates to spend time reflecting on, and carefully defining, their teaching philosophy. The county teachers of the year are selected on the basis of nominations by teachers, principals, and school district administrators throughout the county. Applications are then submitted to the Riverside County Office of Education, where an outside selection committee reviews the applications on each district candidate and selects the four finalists. The selection committee then conducts on-site classroom visitations for each finalist before the county superintendent announces the Riverside County Teachers of the Year. Two more surprise announcements will be made within the next week.

(contributed content: RCOE)