No cell phones, paper planes (do kids still do that?) or whispers — Three of El Dorado Hills’ great teachers had the audience’s full attention last Wednesday as they received Teacher of the Year awards during the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills breakfast meeting.
Receiving top grades were Lake Forest Elementary teacher Rob McClurg, Silva Valley Elementary teacher Judy Holbrook and Oak Ridge High School teacher Erin Arthur.
McClurg has taught in Rescue Union School District for 37 years and when the final bell rings on May 29 he will retire. Taking a trip down memory lane, the fifth-grade teacher recalled when El Dorado Hills had more pastures than rooftops. He called his nearly four decades teaching in the community “amazing.”
“I can’t tell you what an honor it is to have had this experience,” McClurg added.
Lake Forest Principal Bruce Peters thanked McClurg for his commitment to the school’s students and staff. Calling his teaching style “way out-of-the-box,” Peters commended McClurg for successfully engaging and immersing his students in literature and much more.
“There’s so much I’ve learned in his classroom,” Peters said. “We’re losing a huge, huge foundational piece of our district.”
Noting her positive energy and willingness to help work through uncharted territory, Oak Ridge Principal Paul Burke said history teacher Arthur is “an amazing teacher but in addition an amazing person.”
Arthur chairs the school’s Sunshine Committee and helped implement the use of tablets in the classroom. Everyday she comes to the school with the spirit of “What can I do better,” according to Burke.
Arthur credited her grandfather, who she called “an incredible teacher,” with guiding her toward her career path at a young age.
“In third grade I decided I wanted to be a teacher,” she recalled. “I would line up my dolls and teach them.”
Arthur lost her grandfather last year but his lessons live on. “He showed me the power of investing in others,” Arthur said.
A classroom full of second-graders can challenge even the most reasonable person but Silva Valley teacher Holbrook keeps smiling, Principal Kathy Holliman said, and counting down the days until summer break.
“She’s so dedicated to her profession,” Holliman noted.
In addition to teaching second-graders, Holbrook is also helping fellow teachers in the Buckeye Union School District transition to Common Core teaching and she’s working on her master’s degree in education.
Microphone-shy Holbrook opted not to speak but Buckeye USD Superintendent David Roth said choosing her as Teacher of the Year was easy. No matter the school, Holbrook’s name kept popping up.