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Teacher of the Year

Lisa schuster, classroom Teacher

2021 Teacher of the Year, Patti Frazer

Sycamore Elementary School

Hire Date:

Years of Service:


Introduction from Board Meeting:
Tonight’s recipient meets all the criteria set for the CUSD Teacher of the Year with a specific passion and practice, the multi-age instructional setting. As you know, Sycamore Elementary School is known nationally as a school that implements daily and with fidelity a multi-age learning environment that engages students in unique ways in the creation and implementation of their learning.
A colleague states, “She is 100% dedicated to her craft of teaching and is always looking for ways to learn from others. She puts her students and her team first, because she has that huge of a heart! The one thing I admire about her is her willingness to be an ally to the underrepresented. She knows there is more for her to learn and is willing to put in the work to do it.
Tonight’s recipient, like all Teachers of the Year, goes beyond the classroom to engage her profession. She has been the CFA Human Rights Committee chair and she started the CFA sponsored Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta essay and art contest, sending our student’s winning entries to the statewide CTA contest, where many have been recognized.
Another colleague mentioned that "She would want it known that so much of her strength both professionally and personally comes from working and collaborating with her amazing team." Teamwork makes the dream work" is definitely one of her mottos.
As you know teachers have adapted tremendously this past year. For this Teacher of the Year, an example of this adapting was to focus on keeping students engaged and logging in. She developed monthly "teacher challenges" where students earn rewards for meeting class engagement goals, and if they met the goals she and her planning partner would reward students with humorous  Zoom antics like cracking eggs on her head, taking a pie in the face, singing karaoke and attempting cartwheels. Needless to say, students were motivated and worked hard to see those antics.
Another example of this teacher’s work ethic, creativity and leadership was when the Sycamore upper grade teachers couldn't bear the thought of our sixth graders missing science camp this year, she stepped in and volunteered to plan and lead the weeklong curriculum for "Camp Home 'N Zoom". She wrote the lessons, created the student journal, prepped the activities, published the Canvas course, and taught the 5-day course on Zoom to the absolute delight of the sixth graders and their parents. This was a true labor of love that will never be forgotten by these students.
In 1983, the very first CUSD Teacher of the Year was Lillian Page, from Sycamore Elementary School. In my years at Sycamore I heard many stories about Lillian and as a new teacher I aspired to live up to her high standards. She was a legend, a groundbreaking leader of the multi-age instructional method and an ardent trailblazer in insuring students participated fully in the design and implementation of their learning. In the 37 CUSD Teachers of the Year that have followed, there have been none selected from Sycamore until tonight. I cannot think of a better representative to follow Lillian in representing the best of Sycamore and the best of CUSD, a teacher who has lead Sycamore’s signature practices like Goal Setting Conferences, Student Led Conferences, Curriculum Planning and the host of engaged, student focused and created learning experiences into a new era. This teacher has continued to ensure, in the ever-changing landscape of public education, that “Multi-age is life and life is multi-age”.
It is with great pleasure, as a fellow multi-age teacher, I announce Lisa Schuster as our 2021 – 2022 CUSD Teacher of the Year.

Former Teachers of the Year

2021 - Patti Frazer, Condit Elementary School

2020 - Robyn Echeverri, El Roble Intermediate School

2019 - Kara Evans, Teacher on Special Assignment

2018 - Patricia Colinco, Sumner Dabury Elementary School

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