Feature Teacher: Debbie Orange

“In September, our school applauds the achievements of our students at a STAR celebration.  Since I am an eighth grade teacher, several of my former students will return from high school to attend this special event.  One year, a freshman high school student who had been challenged by my classes at Lassen View School sat down next to me.  I could tell that he wanted to say something so I asked him about his high school classes.  He looked at me and said, “You know, Ms. Orange, in seventh grade we all thought you were the meanest teacher ever!  Then in eighth grade, we began to realize that you were not mean; you really cared about our education.  Now when I sit in my high school classes, I look around and see some of my classmates struggling.  You taught me that if I did my homework and tried my hardest, I could learn anything.  Now, I appreciate you.”

Debbie Orange has a lot of confidence in the abilities of her students.  She expects great things from them, so that they can in turn expect great things from themselves.  It is this dedication and belief that all students can learn and thrive that earned her the honor of being feature teacher for the month of January 2012.  “As a teacher, you must accept that at any given moment, you will have a student who does not like you, one that accepts your challenges and others who appreciate your efforts…” These are the words of wisdom that Debbie Orange offers fellow teachers.  School Superintendent, Mancill Tiss, recommended her for the award, saying, “Debbie is an excellent teacher who has taught at Lassen View for 17 years.”

Orange’s students’ test scores have gone up every year in both science and algebra, which is a significant factor in determining who will receive the feature teacher award each month.  “While we are pleased with the scores and know that Debbie is always improving, we know that Debbie is also very concerned about the well-being of each of her students and wants them to succeed in high school and beyond. We feel fortunate to have Debbie and feel that she is very deserving of this award,” added Tiss.

The feature teacher award is presented monthly by Tehama County Superintendent of Schools Larry Champion and Edward Jones Financial Advisor Tyler Smail, with the purpose of recognizing highly successful and talented teachers in Tehama County.


Connie Holland awarded feature teacher for December 2011

Every day, teachers make choices and decisions that affect their students – both directly and indirectly.  “When you become a teacher, you have accepted the responsibility for teaching every child.  School should always be about what is best for the students, period.”

Connie Holland, Teacher at Bidwell School lives by those words each and every day; it’s that dedication that helps her students thrive and also what has earned her the honor of the Feature Teacher award.

Holland has been teaching for 15 years now and says that she does it because she wants to have a direct impact on shaping future generations.  She runs the Learning Center at Bidwell School, which serves about 300 students daily in what she calls “targeted, small groups.”

“Mrs. Connie Holland is one of the most impassioned teachers I have experienced in the eighteen years I have been in education,” said school Principal Isaac Scharaga.  “She works tirelessly to better the lives of all of the children who attend Bidwell Elementary School, and volunteers for many different functions and projects that are student centered in our community.  She understands that through support to children and families, very high levels of expectations can be met, and the results of the children she works with speak for themselves.”

Holland credits her successes to the dedication of the entire Bidwell team, saying “Everyone here contributes to the great work of the Learning Center in some way.”

“Connie Holland is a resourceful, intelligent, creative, and caring individual who believes and lives her life in benefit to others.  The example she sets is one that all of us should live by,” added Scharaga.

The feature teacher award is presented monthly by County Superintendent of Schools Larry Champion and Edward Jones Financial Advisor Tyler Smail, with the purpose of recognizing highly successful and talented teachers in Tehama County.


December 2011 Feature Teacher: Becky Perry

In 17 years of teaching, Richfield School teacher Becky Perry has remained true to the fundamentals.  “There are a lot of things that we as teachers can become distracted with, but the bottom line is that we teach because we love kids,” she said.  “I look at each student as an individual and teach to their specific needs.  I try not to teach to the ‘middle’ and aim to challenge kids to always strive to achieve more and learn more.  The excitement they exhibit when they reach a new level of learning is the icing on the cake.”

Perry was given the Feature Teacher award for her accomplishments in the classroom, which are impressive.  “Becky Perry is a nurturing teacher who has high expectations for her students.  She creates individual learning plans which are designed to engage each student and have them producing and learning at the highest possible level; their personal bests.  Students develop a true love for learning in her classroom,” said Rich Gifford, Superintendent at Richfield School.

She noted that real success in the classroom is a combination of things; with parent involvement and support from administration being high on her list.  “I believe that parents are our best asset and can benefit children in countless ways.  Our small school is welcoming and warm with parents and community that are actively involved,” said Perry.

Additionally, she said, “I have gained so much of what I know and do as a teacher from colleagues; and our administrators are instrumental in our success as teachers.  They set the tone in a school and encourage teachers and students to succeed.  I feel extremely lucky to have worked for some great administrators and I’m thrilled to have received this award.”

The Feature Teacher award is presented monthly, through a community partnership between The Tehama County Department of Education and Tyler Smail of Edward Jones to honor highly successful teachers.



Feature Teacher: Bonnie Baxter

Bonnie Baxter Awarded Feature Teacher for November

“I became a teacher because of my teachers,” said Bonnie Baxter, Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Los Molinos High School.  “Teaching isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle.”

Baxter was recently recognized as the “Feature Teacher”, an award given monthly to Tehama County teachers through a community partnership between the Tehama County Department of Education and local Edward Jones Financial Advisor, Tyler Smail.

“Ms. Baxter has shown true dedication to her students and to the teaching profession,” said Larry Champion, County Superintendent of Schools.  “Her ability to inspire a love of learning and set the bar high for her students is the reason she is being recognized with this award.”

Baxter attributes her academic successes to her students’ enthusiasm for learning, saying, “The students are the reason I was honored.  It was their achievements and commitment to excellence that allowed me this recognition.”

She also points to the close knit community, and the fact that parents, teachers, administrators and the Los Molinos community as a whole all work together for the same goal: preparing kids to be successful in their future endeavors.

Baxter works tirelessly to educate her students in ways that prepare them for whatever career path they choose, saying “I am committed to engaging, inspiring, and challenging my students to achieve.”

“Ms. Baxter is an extraordinary teacher.  She has helped to greatly expand the FFA program at the school and the students consistently win awards and honors in their FFA endeavors.  At the same time, she teaches the Biology class which consistently produces extremely high test scores on the California Standards Test.  She pushes students to strive and then gives them to support they need to succeed,” said Charles Ward, Superintendent at Los Molinos Unified School District.


Congratulations Ms. McFadden

Veronica McFadden Awarded Feature Teacher for September

Veronica McFadden, third grade teacher at Woodson Elementary School in Corning has always believed that it was her calling to become a teacher.  “I can’t imagine doing anything more rewarding,” she said.  “Every day is an adventure that brings new challenges and excitement.”

Veronica’s principal, Mona Miller, nominated her for the Feature Teacher award in September, saying “Veronica is a key member of the Woodson team.  She inspires her students to believe in themselves, to work hard and to never give up.  She cares deeply for her students, is a leader with her peers and an amazing colleague.  She is very deserving of this honor, and I am delighted that she is being recognized for her contributions to our community.”

The award, presented by Tyler Smail of Edward Jones and Larry Champion, County Superintendent of Schools, is given monthly to teachers whose performance is exceptional.  “Teachers like Veronica make all the difference in the world for their students and we’re very pleased that we can recognize them in this way,” said Champion.

“I love being around kids and their honesty,” Veronica said.  “I love the changes I see as the students in my class become more independent and confident.  Most of all, I love teaching my students life skills.  These lessons are the ones that will carry them through.”

When asked what her most memorable teaching moment has been in her 25 year career, she responded with, “There’s no  way in the world I can come up with one most memorable teaching moment because almost every day of the past 25 years has been filled with them.”

Veronica’s dedication to her students and sense of duty to the profession are very apparent both in her enthusiasm for the work and in the consistently high level of achievement by her students.