Valley Elementary School special education instructor Ana Collins was recently selected as one of the three 2018 Poway Unified School District (PUSD) Teachers of the Year. A committee of district and site representatives selected the PUSD Teachers of the Year based on criteria which included: innovations inside the classroom, contributions to their schools and the district, and commitment to their students. Katie Wu of Westview High School and Shantel Raquel of Del Sur Elementary School were the other two Teachers of the Year.

Ana is a resource specialist for Transitional Kindergarten through fifth grade and is a bilingual instructor for the district’s only Spanish immersion program. She’s able to identify learning disabilities in the bilingual student population and develop special education resources for all students receiving academic instruction in Spanish. Her work has a significant positive impact not only on test scores but on student confidence.

“Teaching is a profession of both the heart and mind,” said Superintendent Dr. Marian Kim-Phelps. “These teachers are ‘all-in’ when it comes to making a difference in our students’ lives. They recognize it’s not just academics, but meeting students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs that contributes to our students’ overall success. I congratulate them on this honor, and I am thrilled they are representing #TeamPUSD.”

The district also recognized two 2018 Classified Employees of the Year: Michele Cass, Administrative Assistant for Alternative Programs at the Poway Twin Peaks center, and Shelley Porter, Library Media Technician at Sunset Hills Elementary School.

Beyond her administrative support role, Michele organizes the PUSD Adopt-A-Family Program, supports the Youth in Transition program, and takes leadership roles to organize summer school and summer graduation. Her colleagues share she always goes above and beyond with a passion for the students she serves.