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Island woman wins award
BHS grad wins major teaching honor in Calif.
When Simone Spearman graduated from Bainbridge High School 22 years ago, she never thought she would be receiving a major award for her work.
But there she was, standing onstage at the Sacramento Convention Center two weeks ago receiving an award as the California League of High Schools 2011 State High School Educator of the Year.
“I was shocked to win the California Educator of the Year award,” she wrote in a e-mail. “I have only taught for 12 years – so this was quite unexpected. I was honored when my staff voted for me as the school honoree. I was surprised when I won at the Region 1 level, and I was absolutely shocked when I won at the state level.”
Spearman was chosen as the CLHS 2011 High School Educator of the Year for Region 1 and vied for the award with 10 other teachers nominated across the 10 other regions in the state.
Spearman teaches AP English and ESL at Piner High School in Santa Rosa, Calif.
She started out at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, Calif., when she was 21, then took four years off when her daughter was born.
Her family moved to Guerneville, Calif in 2003 and she resumed her teaching career shortly after.
Spearman, whose parents still resides on the island, has fond memories of her time on Bainbridge, when she was part of a state championship swim team, traveled to France for a summer and led a student walkout to fight for an open campus.
She credits several teachers, including David Guterson, Anne Johansson, Dan McLean and Bob McAllister, for inspiring her to take up teaching.
“I feel fortunate to have had amazing educators in my life, both traditional and non-traditional, and I feel that I carry their spirits when I walk into my classroom,” she wrote.