Saturday, 25 May 2024

County honors Teacher of the Year

Lake County Teacher of the Year Joyce Paiva (center), surrounded by her children, Erin, Kristin and Matt; her brother, Dan McMahon, and sister-in-law, Marilyn McMahon. Photo by Caitlin Andrus.

KELSEYVILLE –The Lake County Office of Education honored its teacher of the year Joyce Paiva at the 14th Annual Teacher of the Year Recognition Dinner at Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa on Saturday, Oct. 25.

The criteria for selection of the County Teacher of the Year is based upon the state and national requirements. Those include professional development activities, commitment to the improvement of the educational system, personal attributes, creativity and ability to communicate ideas effectively as well as professional skills in delivering curriculum and instruction to students.

This year's committee members were Wally Holbrook, Madelene Lyon, Kate Lyons and Marc Morita. The committee chair was Deputy Superintendent of Schools Chris Thomas.

County Superintendent Dave Geck welcomed the approximately 80 guests to the dinner and introduced district superintendents including Dr. Bill MacDougall of Konocti Unified School District, Erin Hagberg of Lakeport Unified, Pam Tarner of Lucerne Elementary, Korby Olson of Middletown Unified, Kurt Herndon of Upper Lake Elementary and Patrick Iaccino from Upper Lake High.

Each of the superintendents introduced and spoke about their respective District Teachers of the Year.

District honorees included Robann Hill, fifth grade teacher, Pomo Elementary School; Cindy Beasley, first grade teacher, Lakeport Elementary; Kathy Hughes, kindergarten and first grade teacher, Lucerne Elementary; Bob Norris, retired eighth grade math teacher, Middletown Middle School; Janice Klier, fourth grade teacher, Upper Lake Elementary School; and retired art, humanities, and academic decathlon teacher, Christina Moore of Upper Lake High School.

Following the recognition of the district teachers of the year, Mountain Vista Middle School Principal John Berry introduced Paiva as the Lake County Office of Education’s Teacher of the Year for 2008-09.

Berry described Paiva as “uniquely well liked and highly respected.” He said that every school needs a rock of Gibraltar and Paiva fills this role at Mountain Vista.

Paiva was then called to the stage where she received a plaque and spoke about her experience as a teacher.

She gave an acceptance speech in which she recognized all parents, teachers and educators for their role in children’s lives. “We don’t give ourselves enough credit for the jobs we do.”

Paiva added, “Great things happen because we teach.”

All of the individuals who do great things in this world had a teacher, a parent, a mentor who taught them how to read or how to do math, she explained. It is important that these people take the time to recognize the role they have and the important part that they play in a child’s life.

Paiva was born in Illinois, but grew up in what she says used to be small town Morgan Hill where she commuted to Norte Dame High School. She moved to the city of San Jose after high school graduation to attend San Jose State University, where she majored in English.

She said she knew she had a talent for writing and “really enjoyed the literary aspect of the major,” so it was a natural choice to choose this area of study.

While in college, Paiva worked at a large bank part-time and was offered a full-time position before she had received her bachelor's degree. She felt she needed a greater challenge and while she was trying to figure out what her next step would be, she received a flier in the mail from San Jose State University that described a program called Project 70. San Jose State was taking applications for a special education program and would accept 70 students. She decided to give it a go, was accepted, and thus Paiva’s teaching career was born.

Paiva has taught in Lake County since 1971, with her first job student teaching kindergarten and third grade. She has taught various grade levels, with the past 12 years of her career teaching sixth through eighth grades at Mountain Vista Middle School.

Currently, Paiva teaches seventh and eighth grade math, which she finds very challenging and rewarding. Her goal is “to have each student reach their highest level and establish a strong mathematical foundation.”

“It is a day-to-day challenge, making sure they understand each and every step,” she said.

In addition to teaching math, she also is the independent study coordinator for the district.

Paiva’s children – Erin, Kristin and Matt – surprised her and attended the ceremony along with Patty Perkins, Tavis Perkins, and her brother, Dan McMahon, and sister-in-law, Marilyn McMahon.


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