By Ken Swisher
Amy Laughlin, an alumna of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and a teacher at Hansen School in Anaheim, has been named a 2015 California Teacher of the Year by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. She was among five outstanding educators as a 2015 California Teachers of the Year.
Laughlin has been teaching for 16 years, 13 of them at Hansen School—and the last six as a Title I Intervention Specialist there. In her role she ensures that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education. Her class, called Husky Time, is an intensive reading intervention program she created for struggling students in all grade levels.
“I am honored to receive this award. I share this with the colleagues I collaborate with and the thousands of hard-working California teachers who are just as passionate about making a difference as I am. The courses I took at CSULB surrounded me with inspirational teachers and motivating peers who influenced me to fight for what I stand for,” said Laughlin. “The education I received at Long Beach sharpened my skills in teaching, learning and leading, which I will forever be grateful for.”
Hansen School is part of the Savanna School District, whose Superintendent Sue Johnson calls Laughlin a “dynamic educator who has a desire to enhance teaching and learning with a heart for and dedication to the children she serves.”
“Amy Laughlin is one of our shining stars in the Education Administration program. As coordinator, I have had many opportunities to observe Amy display remarkable insight involving key and crucial issues that challenge educators on a daily basis. Amy is truly a leader among leaders and inspires everyone with whom she collaborates. We are beyond proud of her accomplishments and know she will continue to make a significant difference in the lives of countless children,” said James Scott, distinguished faculty in residence and coordinator of the M.A. Education Administration/Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Faculty Doctoral Program.
“It is an honor to recognize these five incredibly dedicated teachers who devote their energy, passion and creativity to helping all their students achieve inside and outside the classroom,” Torlakson said. “These teachers have made a huge difference in their students’ lives.”
Traditional education does not always work for her students so Laughlin must offer something different. She nurtures confidence and instills a sense of pride and self-worth into children who may have felt alone and unworthy. She calls herself their biggest cheerleader, “and they are my heroes.” It is her job, she stresses, to ensure every child succeeds. “Whether it is the child who has fallen so far behind that the teacher is at a loss on how to help, or the child who may be academically proficient yet inwardly battles social and emotional conflict,” she said.
“Simply put,” writes Shannon D. Wyatt, principal of Hansen School, “Amy Laughlin is the most amazing educator I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Amy’s greatest strength is her ability to motivate and build relationships with students.”
Laughlin also earned the 2015 Orange County and Savanna School District Teacher of the Year awards. Laughlin earned an Administrative Services Credential in 2013 at CSULB and a master of arts in curriculum and instruction in middle school education at California State University, San Bernardino. She also earned a B.S. in elementary education from Illinois State University. Prior to Hansen, she taught at Cahuilla Elementary School in Palm Springs.
Focus on Student Success Leads CSULB Alumna to Be Named 2015 California Teacher of the Year
By Ken Swisher