CVUSD Educator Chosen as the 2017 Ventura County Teacher of the Year
Leah Oviedo of Walnut Elementary Surprised in her Classroom with the Honor
The Ventura County Office of Education announced today that Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) teacher, Leah Oviedo, was chosen as the 2017 Ventura County Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Oviedo is a teacher at Walnut Elementary School in Newbury Park, and was surprised with the honor in her classroom by family, as well as various members of Ventura County Office of Education, Conejo Valley Unified School District, and Unified Association of Conejo Teachers.
The Teacher of the Year program is awarded by the Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE), which represents 20 school districts and 210 schools, with a total student enrollment of approximately 142,000. The program’s goal is to recognize and honor exemplary and highly qualified teacher in Ventura County, and emphasize educational innovation, student learning, and the rewards of teaching. Candidates are nominated by their school, district, or professional organization. Winners are selected by a panel of educators who review a variety of criteria, including the candidate’s essay, experience, and a letter of introduction from their sponsor. Mrs. Oviedo was sponsored by Walnut Elementary School’s Principal, Aileen Wall, who was inspired by the impact she has each day on the lives of her students, and the consistent support she offers her colleagues as a Teacher Leader.
Mrs. Oviedo currently teaches fifth grade at Walnut Elementary, and has spent the past 16 years working in education. This honor makes her eligible to be considered for the 2018 California Teacher of the Year award. “Leah is a dynamic and phenomenal teacher. She represents the kind of dedication and talent that effectively engages and motivates students every day. We are incredibly proud to have her represent us at the county and the state level,” said Dr. Ann Bonitatibus, CVUSD Superintendent.
Mrs. Oviedo uses a personalized approach to meet the needs of all of her students, helping them monitor their progress towards goals they set for themselves. She also works to engage parents as active partners in their children’s education. Mrs. Oviedo strives daily to help her students “guide their own learning, be reflective learners and create lifelong skills that will prepare them for the future.” She noted that this involves creating a safe classroom environment, building 21st Century skills, integrating new technology linked to standards, and “creating lessons that are cross-curricular and up-to-date with current ideas.”
Beyond her endeavors inside the classroom, Mrs. Oviedo has devoted countless hours of time volunteering, including advocating for children with autism, helping parents navigate assessments when they suspect their child might have special needs, organizing food drives and fundraisers, and attending after-school events to help build community and strengthen relationships with families.
Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stan Mantooth presented the honor today to Mrs. Oviedo, and was accompanied by CVUSD Superintendent Dr. Ann Bonitatibus, Walnut Elementary School Principal Aileen Wall, CVUSD Board of Education Members Dr. Betsy Connolly, Sandee Everett and Pat Phelps, CVUSD Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Robert Iezza, CVUSD Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Dr. Victor Hayek, CVUSD Director of Elementary Education Jeanne Valentine, CVUSD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Mark McLaughlin and Randy Smith, President of the Unified Association of Conejo Teachers.