The last few weeks of the 2021-22 school year were filled with celebrations for Ottomon Way Elementary School and John Barrett Middle School as teachers Logan Grinsell and Nicolette Pulley were recognized as the 2023 Teachers of the Year.
At San Juan Unified, teachers are not just chosen for their student-focus, but their site leadership, willingness to make adjustments, and their focus on ensuring our students are being taken care of emotionally and socially.
Both these teachers have spent years mastering their crafts and learning how to connect with students in this district.
Grinsell began working at San Juan Unified almost 10 years ago and has spent his entire career at John Barrett Middle School. Aside from teaching science and art, Grinsell is the school musical director, a track coach, and the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement) advisor for students.
In his application for Teacher of the Year, Grinsell shared what the definition of a teacher is and why he is surpassing that definition.
“Based on this definition, teaching is nothing special,” said Grinsell. “But what is lacking from the definition that I bring is the passion and heart to make teaching one of the best professions to get into.”
As for Pulley, she began working at San Juan Unified eight years ago and has spent her entire teaching career with the district.
Over the last year, Pulley has provided more than 12 hours of professional development to site staff and six hours of training for instructional assistants to implement reading. She also provided on-campus support for K-3 teachers completing Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS).
In her application, she explains that it is essential to rely on the unique strengths and gifts of school site staff to help student achievement.
“Personally, I communicate my appreciation for my staff through service-based leadership,” said Pulley. “I serve my team in my ability to share my professional areas of expertise where I feel confident that I can lead my team in a forward direction.”
Both Grinsell and Pulley have been nominated to compete for the Sacramento County Office of Education Teacher of the Year award.