SRVUSD recognizes two Teachers of the Year for 2019

Dougherty Valley’s Augustin, Quail Run’s Saadat headed to county contest

In recognition of the hard work that San Ramon Valley teachers employees do, school district officials have highlighted two who best exemplify the values and achievements of the district, selecting Dougherty Valley High School’s Athena Augustin and Quail Run Elementary School’s Nusheen Saadat and as its Teachers of the Year for 2019.

Each year, the district selects one elementary and one secondary teacher to honor, with both candidates set to represent the San Ramon Valley in the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year program.

“Nusheen and Athena are exemplary representatives of the excellence in teaching that takes place throughout the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Both are deeply dedicated to their work and provide tremendous support and encouragement to their students, as well as to their colleagues,” SRVUSD Superintendent Rick Schmitt said in a statement. “They make the SRVUSD a better place to teach and learn. We are proud to honor them and their work.”

Saadat is a second-grade teacher at Quail Run, where she serves on the school site council and co-leads the school’s second-grade team. She was recognized in part, for her efforts in the Response to Intervention program, which seeks to support students in need.

District officials have said that Saadat focuses on civics and human rights in her classroom, using such lessons to empower her students and guide them toward becoming great community leaders.

“She also shares with students and staff her own experiences growing up as a Persian American. This unique perspective allows her to have an open dialogue with the Quail Run community around sensitive topics such a race and how we can be mindful of all of our students in the community,” SRVUSD spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said in a statement.

In her 20th year of teaching, Augustin currently teaches AVID, health and “Mind Matters: A Study of Mental Health and Illness,” to Dougherty Valley High School students. Through AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), Augustin works to accelerate student readiness for college through motivational learning.

Keeping the health and welfare of students in mind, she has helped develop courses that fit a variety of students needs such as “Mind Matters,” oversaw the tobacco use prevention education grant, and spearheaded efforts to train students in updated CPR methods.

“During her time in the SRVUSD, Athena has consistently provided students a learning environment that is not only challenging academically but also provides a safe and respectful atmosphere where students are able to thrive,” Graswich said. “Her professionalism, work ethic and can-do attitude are just some of the reasons why we feel fortunate to have Athena as an SRVUSD teacher.”

This year’s winners were recognized by the Board of Education during its meeting Tuesday evening.

Last year, Cal High's Shanna Gagnon -- selected along with Bella Vista's Lynn Alamillo at the SRVUSD level -- was named as one of four finalists for the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year.

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