By Shawn Raymundo

The Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) on Friday, Feb. 8, announced the winners of its 2019 Teachers of the Year award.

CUSD annually recognizes an elementary, middle and high school teacher for their “outstanding commitment to engage all students in learning.”

This year’s Teachers of the Year recipients are George White Elementary School teacher Jill Brick, Ladera Ranch Middle School teacher Amanda Hatcher and Serra High School teacher Ashly Ogden.

“I am always inspired to recognize the great work of our incredible teachers and the positive impact they have on our students,” CUSD Board of Trustees President Gila Jones said in a press release. “They are wonderful examples of the teachers we have in our district, and we look forward to cheering them on at the county level.”

The teachers were selected by their respective schools, according to CUSD. Later this year, they’ll compete for the Orange County Teacher of the Year award.

To celebrate and announce the occasion on Feb. 4, several colleagues, friends, family and CUSD officials, including Jones and Superintendent Kristen Vital, surprised this year’s honorees by gathering in their respective classrooms.

For the last 29 years, Brick has taught at George White with the goal of instilling a joy of learning in her students as well as motivating them to want to be life-long learners, according to CUSD.

“Every day is a new chance for me to make a difference in someone’s life, every year is a new adventure, every student is a new relationship,” Brick said in the press release.

Hatcher, who has taught social science for 14 years at Ladera, said she wants to “continue to grow as an educator and never become stagnant.”

At Serra High, Ogden teaches many courses within special education as well as general math. Teaching, she said, is “leading by example, teaching respect, self-love, appreciation for education, and the drive to find your passion.”

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