Meet San Juan Unified’s 2024 Teachers of the Year
Bella Vista High School, Casa Roble Fundamental High School and Louis Pasteur Middle School have a new source of pride, as teachers Susan Sloan and Karen Davidson were recognized as the 2024 Teachers of the Year by San Juan Unified School District.
At San Juan Unified, the Teacher of the Year award recognizes honorees for their student-focus, site leadership, willingness to make adjustments and for ensuring that students are being taken care of emotionally and socially. Both these teachers have spent years mastering their craft and learning how to connect with students in this district.
Sloan began her San Juan Unified career as a teacher librarian 21 years ago at both Casa Roble Fundamental High School and Bella Vista High School. She has made an immense impact at Bella Vista, where she helped develop a four-year Naviance and College and Career Planning curriculum. After Sloan successfully led this initiative, San Juan Unified implemented the four-year Naviance curriculum into all of its high schools. This accomplishment earned Bella Vista California’s first Gold Ribbon School Award in 2015.
In Sloan’s nomination form, she states that she is a strong believer in the value of public school education. As such, she leads by example to inspire the next generation of teachers.
“As a teacher, I get to be a part of developing the minds, skills, and talents of our students,” Sloan said. “Just being a part of that process is exceptionally rewarding.”
As for Davidson, she began working at San Juan Unified as after-school staff before she earned her credential. Since then, she has spent 22 total years working at the district. Before teaching at Casa Roble Fundamental High School and Louis Pasteur Middle School, Davidson taught music at Thomas Edison Language Institute, Sylvan Middle School and Green Oaks Elementary School, just to name a few. Outside of her teaching duties, she also participates in the California Band Directors Association, American Choral Directors Association and more. Davidson is known for her successful efforts to keep students motivated during remote learning. For this reason, she was named the Rotary Club of Orangevale’s Teacher of the Year in 2021.
In her application, Davidson acknowledges that remote learning has changed students’ levels of motivation. She explains that strong relationships are at the core of teachers inspiring rigor in their students.
“It is through deeper relationships with students that we are able to find their interest and motivators to inspire more rigorous learning,” said Davidson. “Human relationships matter.”