Two Newport-Mesa Unified School District educators were honored as district Teachers of the Year on Thursday evening during an awards banquet presented by the Newport-Mesa Schools Foundation.
Amy Tupa from Ensign Intermediate School in Newport Beach and Caryn Broesamle from Lincoln Elementary School in Corona del Mar were awarded a plaque, a monetary gift and flowers.
The two will move on for consideration for the 2019 Orange County Teacher of the Year award.
Every year, all school sites are invited to nominate a teacher for the district honor. Nominees must have at least seven years' experience, fill out an application describing their teaching philosophy and go through an interview with former winners and members of the district's teachers union.
Each year an elementary school teacher and a secondary school teacher are chosen.
Tupa said it's an "incredible honor" to join previous winners such as Jim Blackie, one of the six 2018 Orange County Teachers of the Year.
"It was so wonderful and special. I'm still trying to process it all," she said.
Tupa began working in Newport-Mesa as a student teacher in 2010 and became a science teacher at Ensign the following year.
Tupa also teaches an intervention class that provides academic and social support for at-risk students.
"It's a safe and happy place where I coach them along as a pseudo-parent," she said.
The Long Beach resident also serves as a lead mentor for new teachers through the Education Teacher Induction Program in collaboration with the district and the Orange County Department of Education.
"It makes me think about my own teaching," she said.
She said she encourages teachers to focus on the "little things," such as welcoming students at the door, speaking in a positive manner and showing affirmation when a student succeeds.
Ensign Principal Michael Sciacca described Tupa as the embodiment of what the school strives to provide to students.
"She's extremely strong in her approach to academics and equally strong with positive behavior and the social-emotional component," Sciacca said. "She works with kids on life beyond academics. It's the whole package approach that's most impressive."
Broesamle, a Costa Mesa resident, began her career in the district in 1997 as a first- and second-grade teacher at Woodland Elementary School in Costa Mesa. A year later she was nominated as Teacher of the Year for her school site.
She now teaches third grade at Lincoln Elementary.
"It's an honor to represent the district and teachers who I've had the great pleasure to work with at my site and across the district," Broesamle said. "I'm definitely humbled to represent them."
Lincoln Principal Kristin DeMicco described Broesamle as an innovative educator who focuses on students' academic and emotional success.
Broesamle helps lead staff technology training at Lincoln as the district's digital fellow.
Using technology such as Chromebooks and iPads in the classroom helps students learn and collaborate with peers on projects, she said.
"My hope and goal is that I build a trust to push themselves academically," Broesamle said. "Hopefully they believe in themselves and trust they can believe in me that they can go higher if they want to."
The following eight teachers were honored as Teachers of the Year at their school sites:
James Christman of Adams Elementary, Sandra Gordon of Victoria Elementary, Donald Funk of Whittier Elementary, Carol Singer of Mariners Elementary, Kimberly Rapp of Corona del Mar High, Paul Serio of Costa Mesa High, Brandon Clay of Newport Harbor High and Kim Aceves of TeWinkle Middle.