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Newport-Mesa Unified School District Announces Teachers of the Year
Posted 5/5/20

Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) and the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers (NMFT) are pleased to announce the selection of Jacqueline Brown, a fourth-grade teacher at California Elementary and Susan Stokes, a second-grade teacher at Newport Coast Elementary as the 2020 Teachers of the Year.

Teachers are nominated for this prestigious honor by their peers and/or school community members. Once nominated, teachers submit a written application, which is used to determine the finalists, which then proceed to classroom observations and interviews. Consideration for Teacher of the Year is based on the quality of instruction, educational philosophy, and contribution to the profession. This selection process is managed by a committee of prior winners, retired teachers, and NMFT leadership.

The NMUSD winners, who were honored at an awards banquet hosted by the Newport-Mesa Schools Foundation, were submitted for consideration in the Orange County Department of Education Teacher of the Year program.

“The District Teachers of the Year represent the best of all of us, we are thrilled to recognize all they do,” said NMFT President Dr. Britt Dowdy. “Their quality of teaching and commitment to our profession is inspiring,” he said.

Teacher of the Year

Ms. Jacqueline Brown, second from left

Ms. Jacqueline Brown, California Elementary

Ms. Brown has taught at NMUSD schools for more than 18 years. She works tirelessly to provide an excellent learning experience for all students. She is known for supporting students beyond the educational program by listening and cultivating a collaborative classroom atmosphere.

In addition to teaching at California Elementary, she also serves as the administrative designee and grade lead teacher, state testing coordinator, and an inductions mentor for new teachers. She is enthusiastic about the importance of learning and personal growth and is currently pursuing her doctorate degree with a focus on cyberbullying. 

“I aspire to create a classroom environment that empowers my students to understand that to learn you need to take risks, and that thoughts and opinions should be shared and heard without judgment,” said Ms. Brown. “I support and encourage their growth and reinforce their understanding that they have immense potential,” she said.

teacher of the year

Ms. Susan Stokes, front row center

Ms. Susan Stokes, Newport Coast Elementary

Ms. Stokes began her career with NMUSD 20 years ago and is currently a second-grade teacher at Newport Coast Elementary. She is known for her ability to support students’ social-emotional aspects of learning. She is an active participant in the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) team and believes that a child’s well being is critical to their success in school and life.

In addition to teaching at Newport Coast, she supported the development of the school-wide behavior matrix, manages the Peer Assistance Leaders program, implemented kindness week and serves as the class act teacher representative for the South Coast Repertory Education Board. Her positivity and willingness to share her expertise have gained her the appreciation of colleagues and the school community. 

“I care and understand the enormity of a child’s well-being, I believe in their ability to discover kindness and compassion,” said Ms. Stokes. “My greatest gift as a teacher is to witness my student’s successes,” she said.