CALIFORNIA TEACHER OF THE YEAR
MESSAGE: “I am absolutely humbled and honored to be an ambassador for the teaching profession as a Riverside County and California Teacher of the Year. A special thank you to my family, especially my mom and dad, for your love and support during this incredible journey. Thank you Dr. Judy White, Jane Moore, Michelle Cooper, and Craig Petinak, for your leadership, time, and guidance. I work with an amazing staff at El Cerrito Middle School, and I am so thankful to have the chance to impact students’ lives with you. Principal, Dr. Shelly Yarbrough, thank you for allowing me to make dreams a reality for our school and our students. Finally, thank you to Dr. Michael Lin and Corona-Norco Unified School District for the opportunity to teach every student who comes through my door—instilling in them the skills necessary to pursue their dreams and seek greatness!”
A medical student deciding to pursue a career of teaching art may seem like an unusual choice, but for, Dr. Angel Mejico, this was the perfect decision. Dr. Mejico emphasizes the importance of “career changers” who are individuals with career experience outside the field of education that can bring new perspectives to schools by becoming teachers. Dr. Mejico believes that art has practical applications in every subject. In her classroom, The Art Academy provides opportunities for students to express themselves through visual mediums, cultivating a respect for numerous subjects with their projects. Nothing demonstrates Dr. Mejico’s love for her students and community more than the Art Expo, a popular event held annually at El Cerrito Middle School that highlights more than 900 of her students’ art pieces. Dr. Mejico has been described as “the hope dealer for students throughout the school”.