El Dorado High School

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Mrs. Switzer is finalist for California State Teacher of the Year

Placentia-Yorba Linda USD Teacher is State Finalist

California Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson today announced California’s Teachers of the Year and Placentia teacher Kathleen Switzer is one of the state’s 11 finalists.

Switzer teaches language arts for the school’s academy, beginning theatre, intermediate theatre, musical theatre and scriptwriting at El Dorado High School. She also supervises and directs student plays and drama productions and serves as advisor for several clubs, including the Thespian Troup, and Comedy Sports, among others. She keeps students connected by involving them in several community events and projects, including the Terry Conley Memorial Mile, the Orange County Komen Race for the Cure run, a canned food drive through the International Thespian Society, and more. In addition, she also makes time to be actively involved with nearby Brookhaven Elementary. For two years she has coordinated their talent show productions of “Charlotte’s Web” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” as well as their spring musical. On most days, she works 14 hours and gives more of her time on weekends. In between she has also found time to create a language arts curriculum for the school’s award-winning Digital Media Arts Academy; teach the academy’s language arts freshman class; and play an integral part in planning the academy’s new Broadcasting Pathway, which was launched this year. Colleagues said that one should never say no to a Kathleen project because one would be missing out. One student described her in the following way, “Mrs. Switzer can always be counted on to give her best for us.”

The Teacher of the Year process begins at the local level. In Orange County, districts are invited to submit district nominees from the thousands of teachers in the county. Four school district teachers and one from the community college level are selected as the county’s honorees. Those individuals advance to the state competition where there are three phases of selection. Of all of the teachers nominated by counties across the state, six were selected as semi-finalists; six were selected as finalists; and five were named California Teachers of the Year. Switzer advanced through several rounds and is a California Teacher of the Year Finalist.

Switzer graduated from Placentia-Yorba Linda USD. She attended Brookhaven Elementary, Tuffree Middle School and El Dorado High School.