Rheem kindergarten teacher, Amanda Lorie, has been selected as the Moraga School District Teacher of the Year. Her dedication, compassion, and collaborative attitude make her an excellent choice for this honor.
Ms. Lorie began working in the Moraga School District seventeen years ago. In the early 2000's, she began working at Rheem as an elementary PE teacher assistant, a classroom teacher assistant, a yard duty supervisor, and a GATE assistant. These early days working with the students and staff at Rheem piqued her interest in getting a teaching credential. With a teaching credential in hand, she returned to Rheem in 2002 as a long-term substitute in 1st grade, and then taught kindergarten for 2 ½ years before taking time off to have her son, Brandon.
Ms. Lorie has never stopped learning and growing as an educator. While raising her son, she simultaneously pursued a Master’s Degree in Education at UC Berkeley with a focus on children’s cognition and development, reading theory, and best practices in teaching reading. Her teaching career continued in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, during which time she also received her Reading Recovery Certification at St. Mary’s. She found her way back “home” to Rheem in 2013, where she taught 2nd grade, and served as a “teacher leader” – providing guidance and resources to all 2nd grade teachers in the district as they began the implementation of Common Core Standards. Now, in her 2nd year of teaching kindergarten at Rheem, she serves on the district’s English/Language Arts committee and was one of a select number of teachers to attend the 2016 Summer Institute on the Teaching of Reading, The Reading and Writing Project, at Columbia University.
Yes, Ms. Lorie has the knowledge and skills to be an exceptional teacher. But, she also has that special quality that cannot be found in any textbook or workshop; it’s called LOVE. Her concern for the social/emotional well-being of her students is of paramount importance. As a result, her classroom environment is welcoming, fun, and supportive. Ms. Lorie is a passionate advocate for ALL students, recognizing the unique supports needed by the wide variety of learners in her charge. When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, she doesn’t hesitate to respond:
“I get to spend my days working with young children who love to learn. They fuel my days with energy and excitement and so many questions -- every second I spend with them is a gift. And I am grateful for, and cherish my days with my students and their open minds and generous hearts. My drive comes from them – teaching them to read and their progress, their smiles, their zest for life and learning and playing and questioning and problem solving -- they teach me new things every day. They make me want to be a better teacher, to always learn, and to always push myself to be the best that I can be.”
Ms. Lorie moves on to the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year selection process, representing the Moraga School District. The board will acknowledge her as the district’s Teacher of the Year at the March 14 board meeting.