SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Salinas High School teacher Andrew Rodriguez has been named the 2021 Monterey County Teacher of the Year by the Office of Education.
County and district officials made the announcement Thursday.
Rodriguez was chosen because he said he believes teachers should be mentors and practice what they preach. The Office of Education said he makes sure his lessons are relevant and rigorous, but also goes above and beyond the call of duty by mentoring students after school and helping those who are afraid to ask for help.
"At the end of the day, I always fight for the kid who's too afraid to ask for help because they don't want to be disappointed again,” said Rodriguez. “I fight for that kid because that kid was me."
Rodriguez will represent Monterey County at a state-level competition later this year.
Loma Vista Elementary School Teacher Jennifer Brabant was recognized as Elementary Teacher of the year, and San Antonio Union School District English Language Arts teacher Heather Robbins was named the Middle School Teacher of the Year.
Each district nominee received a $500 cash prize. Elementary, middle school and high school winners were awarded an extra $1,000, and Rodriguez, the overall winner, was awarded an extra $1,000.
“The Teacher of the Year Program recognizes teachers who are dedicated and passionate about teaching and learning,” said Dr. Deneen Guss, Monterey County Superintendent of Schools.” The Program recognizes teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty and positively influence the lives of our children and their future.”
Last year's winner was Meredith Jones with the Salinas City Elementary School District.