Calavera Hills teacher named best of year

CARSLBAD — Corey Cooper Espeleta, a 15-year Carlsbad Unified School District teacher who currently teaches math and electives to sixth- and seventh-graders at Calavera Hills Middle School, has been named the district’s 2010-2011 Teacher of the Year. She will vie for the San Diego County Teacher of the Year award later this spring.
The other two finalists for CUSD Teacher of the Year were Jill Ward, Aviara Oaks Elementary, and Shelley Thomas, Jefferson Elementary. Espeleta, Ward, Thomas and all site Teachers of the Year, including Todd McGinnis, Aviara Oaks Middle; Sharon Zak, Buena Vista Elementary; Michelle Koopsen, Calavera Hills Elementary; Linda Scott, Carlsbad High; Eric Ezeir, Carlsbad Village Academy; Janet Nielsen, Hope Elementary; Elizabeth Taylor, Kelly Elementary; Kim Fuentes, Magnolia Elementary, Shauna Bloomquist, Pacific Rim Elementary; Tricia Rowe, Poinsettia Elementary and Cathy Pope, Valley Middle, will be honored at the May 11 Board of Trustees meeting.
CHMS Principal Catina Hancock nominated Espeleta for “her dedication, expertise and desire to improve student learning and connectedness.” Hancock said. “Corey’s contributions to the school community are one of the reasons that Calavera Hills Middle was recognized as a California Distinguished School and recently as a California and National School to Watch.”
“Corey uses math as a tool to build self-confidence in students by utilizing peer interactions to practice and cement learning,” Hancock said. “She creates a curriculum that engages students who tend to be difficult to reach in most academic settings and who have a history of struggling in school. She creates small steps of achievements for all students so they can feel success and become more intrinsic learners.”
CHMS colleagues describe Espeleta as a student-centered teacher and collaborative team member whose enthusiasm and school spirit are infectious.
Espeleta reveals her secret of successful teaching, which is simple but profound. “I don’t teach standards. I teach students,” she said.

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