Veronica Rylander, who teaches 8th grade Core and Drama at Lincoln Middle School, was celebrated last week at a ceremony hosted by the Alameda County Office of Education.
Ms. Rylander, who has been part of the Lincoln team for eight years, was one of 18 Teachers of the Year from across Alameda County who were honored.
“Our theme for this year is ‘Mapping the Path to Success,’” Alameda County Superintendent of Schools LK Monroe said in her opening remarks. “Like maps that guide us from one point to another, our teachers are guiding lights that show our children their path to success and encourage them to be lifelong learners in pursuit of achieving their goals and dreams.”
"Multiple Strategies to Engage"
Ms. Rylander was selected as a Teacher of the Year based on her reinvigoration of the middle school’s drama program, her effectiveness as a core teacher, and her leadership in helping the district develop an anti-racist curriculum. For instance, last year she advocated for including “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” by Ibram X. Kendi, in 8th grade.
“It is always a delight to learn about and recognize outstanding teachers, as we not only want to support them but learn from them,” says Lincoln principal Sheila Sathewarner. “Ms. Rylander is a stellar example of a teacher who uses multiple strategies to engage and motivate students to master academic standards, while also pushing the district to use materials that better teach students to understand our world and our history and imagine better futures.”
Ms. Rylander received her Bachelor's degree and social studies teaching credential from Humboldt State and her special education teaching credential from Cal State East Bay. “Being chosen as teacher of the year is an amazing honor,” Ms. Rylander says. “I feel blessed to be working in such a supportive community. I wish more teachers could be honored each year in the same way, because I work with so many amazing, creative, and generous teachers.”
Creative Confidence, Foundational Skills
The ACOE event included video interviews with the honorees, as well as footage of the educators practicing their craft. You can see the video of Ms. Rylander and the other honorees on the ACOE website.
“Veronica’s energy, enthusiasm and imagination as a classroom practitioner are emblematic of the work we want to see in all of our classrooms,” says Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi. “She designs and facilitates experiences for students that grow their creative confidence while at the same time endowing them with skills and knowledge that are applicable to their subject areas and their lives in general.”