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LA Unified teacher named one of 5 CA Teachers of the Year

LA School Report | October 26, 2015

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Daniel Jocz

Daniel Jocz

Daniel Jocz, a social studies teacher at Downtown Magnets High School, is one of five people named today by Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Education, as 2016 California Teachers of the Year.

Jocz is the only winner from LA Unified.

“The teachers we are honoring today are dedicated, energetic, innovative and very effective,” Torlakson said in a statement. “Every day in the classroom they inspire students to learn, excel and realize their full potential. Their work provides a great example for other teachers.”

County offices of education nominated finalists through regional Teachers of the Year competitions. A state selection committee reviewed the applications and conducted site visits to evaluate the teachers’ rapport with students, classroom environment, presentation skills, and teaching methods, among other criteria.

The teachers were then interviewed at the California Department of Education before Torlakson made the final selections.

Jocz has been a social studies teacher for 11 years, all at his present school, where he is a department chair, instructional leadership team member and associated student body advisor. His Advanced Placement U.S. History passage rate is among the highest in the district, in part, for his use of technology.

“My regular use of popular culture and music in my lessons has allowed me to create a curriculum that is not only rigorous, but also relevant, engaging, and develops media literacy skills,” he said in a statement. “To not teach this history…is to do a disservice to our nation’s rich, complicated past. This is why I committed my life to teaching history in an urban public school setting.”

The other winners are:

  • Mitch Bahr, a music teacher at Foothill High School in Palo Cedro, Shasta Union High School District in Shasta County.
  • Michelle Cherland, a second grade multi-subject teacher at Carrillo Ranch Elementary School in Indio, Desert Sands Unified School District in Riverside County.
  • Doug Green, a broadcast journalism teacher at both Valley Middle School and Carlsbad High School in Carlsbad, Carlsbad Unified School District.
  • Ann Park, a writing and science teacher at Greenleaf Elementary School in Oakland, Oakland Unified School District.

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