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Teacher of the Year

Patricia Colinco, Classroom Teacher

A picture of Patti Colinco, CUSD s 2017 - 2018 Teacher of the Year


  Sumner Danbury School

  Hire Date: 9/7/99

  Years of Service: 18 

  Degrees: B.A. & M.A., California State University     Long Beach


Introduction from Board Meeting:

As I have said many times to you before, there are countless members of the CUSD family who work behind the scenes to ensure our student’s shine. These outstanding teachers dodge the spotlight and work hard every day to engage students, improve their craft and make their site the best it can be. What I love about our recognitions, is that our staff recognize this great work and honor our “behind the scenes players.”  

Tonight’s teacher has been recommended by her peers for this distinction for 5 consecutive years. Every year, when the former Teachers of the Year meet, tonight’s teacher has made it to the final round, just narrowly getting edged out by past recipients. This is not to say tonight’s teacher is in any way second place… but rather to accentuate the incredible people that make it into that discussion and the splitting of hairs that takes place to select just one.

I think the fact that tonight’s teacher has been recommended for 5 years before being selected is an appropriate tribute to this outstanding teacher. She is not one for accolades and will likely be embarrassed by this one. She is the one who celebrates others, puts together the thank you and recognition events and is always looking to “raise others up.” Well, tonight is her turn… we recognize her for being an exceptional teacher, an exceptional colleague and for representing what is best in CUSD.

Her colleagues state she is an amazing teacher, who works quietly behind the scenes to create engaging learning experiences for her students. She is a hard worker, who constantly upgrades her program to meet the needs of her students. Her classroom environment is remarkable, as she uses her calm quiet demeanor to create a warm atmosphere that is ideal for learning and belonging. She has a magic about her that is a gift to her colleagues and students.

Another colleges states that she is by far the most thoughtful person I have honestly had the pleasure of  knowing! She has a special way of making people feel important, comfortable, and loved. She always puts the needs of others above her own. In her class I observed her to be a very powerful and nurturing teacher who engages students, keeps their interest and teaches students how to learn.  Any situation is always handled in a soft spoken and compassionate way, and it is evident that she has the respect and admiration of her all students.

Others add that when she addresses her students, it is with the utmost respect and kindness.   She never has to raise her voice, her students intuitively treat her with the same respect and kindness in return.

(I’m sure she gets frustrated at times, but you would never outwardly know this).

This special skill of creating a learning community can be seen in the very special way of addressing the difficult situation of a student leaving the class before the end of the year . At the end of the day just before the students leave she asks every other student to say something nice that that student can take with them. It is a small but very powerful way of celebration the relationship of a class, recognizing that change happens and bolstering a student who can be uncertain and uneasy about leaving.

As you can see, with an expertise in the teaching craft and for designing instruction that engages students and is differentiated to their needs, this teacher brings to her classroom what our world needs more and more of every day…. she excels at teaching student’s calm, to respect others, to be reflective, to work hard for hard work’s sake and not for a prize, to laugh and be joyous, life is full of change and we will be OK as long as we go through it together  and to be passionate about lifelong learning.

I have to add my favorite quote from a colleague that is she can’t walk across the playground at recess without stopping for a shot a basketball hoop. She usually misses, but walks away with a big nostalgic smile of the days when it used to go in…

Claremont’s 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year began her teaching career with Claremont Unified School District 18 years ago as a classroom teacher and is currently at Sumner Elementary School. 

It is with great pleasure I present to you, the Board of Education, Dr. Elsasser and the staff and the community, the 2017-2018 Claremont Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year – Patti Colinco.

Former Teachers of the Year

2017 - Dave Chamberlain - Claremont High School

2016 - Sandra Nesbit, Condit Elementary School

2015 - Deborah Plumley, Sumner Elementary

2014—Terri Kegans, El Roble Intermediate School

2013—Karen Corrette, Chaparral Elementary School

2012—Krista Elhai, Claremont High School

2011—Carolyn Spanier, Claremont High School

2010—Leanna Prokop, Chaparral Elementary School

2009—Ken Kirkwood, El Roble Intermediate School

2008—Imetra Joiner, Oakmont Elementary School

2007—Jenny McGourty-Riggs, El Roble Intermediate School

2006—Stephanie Salamon, Claremont High School

2005—Olivia Simpson, Oakmont Elementary School

2004—Gail Mori, Claremont High School

2003—Sally Grogg, Sumner Elementary School

2002—Judi McKee, Vista del Valle Elementary School

2001—Virginia Ellsworth, Sumner Elementary School

2000—Jeanne Culbertson, Chaparral Elementary School

1999—John Sedia, Danbury School

1998—Jack Harper, Claremont High School

1997—Joan Felsch,El Roble Intermediate School

1996—LaRie Carter, Claremont High School

1995—Heather Moore, Condit Elementary School

1994—Rosemary Adam, Claremont High School

1993—Frances Gilfry, Danbury School

1992—Charlotte Brockway, El Roble Intermediate School

1991—Gary Iida, Claremont High School

1990—Dorothy Shamah, Claremont High School

1989—Bob Walker, Claremont High School

1988—Debbie McCurdy, Oakmont Elementary School

1987—Esper Keiser, Claremont High School

1986—Doreen Stalwick, Vista del Valle Elementary School

1985—Dawn Ridder, Oakmont Elementary School

1984—James Hill, Claremont High School

1983—Lillian Page, Sycamore Elementary School