Ann Sobrato High School teacher Jeanie Wallace was named the 2019 Morgan Hill Federation Teacher of the Year and honored by the Morgan Hill Unified School District’s Board of Education May 7.
Wallace and 13 of her colleagues were chosen as Teachers of the Year for their respective school sites. They were nominated and selected by fellow teachers and staff at each site.
Of those 14 top educators, the federation’s executive council then bestowed top honors on Wallace, whose 33-year tenure with the district began in 1985.
Wallace—who plans to retire in June—began her career at Britton Middle School as a social studies and math teacher before moving to Sobrato in 2004 as a founding member of the school faculty. At Sobrato, she has been an Associated Student Body adviser and has taught a plethora of courses, including geography, civics, economics, math and U.S. history.
“A compelling public speaker, Jeanie’s passion for her subject area is contagious,” reads her nomination summary. “One of Jeanie’s gifts in the classroom is her ability to help students make connections between the content and their own lives. Each year, she helps to organize a mock political convention for high school seniors, helping them to understand the importance of civic engagement and see how local, state, and national politics impact day-to-day life.”
Here are excerpts from site staff about each of the MHFT’s 2019 teachers of the year:
Angie Bellino (Nordstrom)
Angie Bellino shares her welcoming spirit with students and families in her class and with her colleagues at Nordstrom. She works with Special Day Class teachers to mainstream students and makes sure her classroom is an inclusive environment where all students feel valued.
Christina Deharo (Barrett)
Christina Deharo has a special relationship with students and families at Barrett because she understands their struggles. Like many Barrett parents, Christina’s immigrant parents could not seek a higher education because they had to work for their families to survive. Christina is able to meet families where they are by using her fluency in Spanish, sometimes going so far as making home visits.
Nancy Friday (Los Paseos)
Nancy Friday spearheaded the creation of the STEAM Lab/Maker space at Los Paseos. She procured Chromebooks for students to use so students can work together in this space after school.
Laurie Gallegos (Jackson Academy of Math & Music)
Laurie Gallegos is one of the district’s certificated GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) Trainers. The GLAD charts and student work exhibited in Laurie’s class are evidence of the high expectations she has for herself and her students. Her literacy skills allow them to expand their learning in all content areas.
C.J. Goularte (Live Oak)
C.J. Goularte’s classroom is student centered. He believes that every lesson he teaches must be relevant to his students. His classes explore the world of politics and government in a safe and inclusive way. His goal is to train the leaders of tomorrow to engage in the political process in a critical way.
Sandy Hillesland (PA Walsh STEAM Academy)
Sandy gives 110 percent or more for her students. She is constantly working with her students to meet their academic needs on her own time, both at recess and at lunch. She is always willing to try new teaching methods, such as STEAM-related activities, using Google programs, and an integration of two different math programs she finds effective.
Cathy Moss (Non-Site Based Teachers)
Cathy Moss is a great professional worker who is organized and goes out of her way to support all schools and gather information in order to make changes at the district level.
Jennifer Niemann (El Toro Health Science Academy)
Jennifer Niemann is a passionate and dedicated educator who shares a deep commitment to equity and the belief that each and every student can learn.
Brian Paulson (Central High School)
Brian Paulson has been able to work with a variety of students and meet each of their needs through online classes. This year Brian has also taken on the independent studies students.
Sally Pollard (Paradise Valley Engineering Academy)
Sally Pollard has over 34 years of experience perfecting the art of teaching children not only how to read, but more importantly, how to communicate their feelings and express their care for one another.
Rosemary Thompson (Martin Murphy Middle School)
Rosemary Thompson was hired as a SPED teacher at Murphy in 2015. Rosemary now serves on the Murphy Leadership team as the department chair for SPED.
Cortney Woodward (SMG Environmental Science Academy)
Cortney Woodward has had a great impact on SMG’s middle school program because she has experience in both secondary education and special education. She initiated her school’s mentoring program that allows middle school students to act as mentors to younger students on campus.
Tanner Ziegeleman (Britton Middle School)
In his first year as a teacher, Tanner Zeigleman has already become an integral part of the Britton staff. As ASB director, Tanner has planned, set up, worked and cleaned up after all of Britton’s dances, awards assemblies, on-site sporting events and sixth-grade Parent Night.