County’s Teacher of the Year Selected : Oxnard: Elaine Daugherty is commended for her professionalism. She says the kids ‘give you life.’


When Elaine Daugherty isn’t leading beach cleanups, training Ventura County educators in the latest technology or tracking wild pigs in the rain forests of Brazil, she teaches science at Fremont Intermediate School in Oxnard.

And it is her daily job at the school, which she has held for 15 years, that has earned her the title of Ventura County’s teacher of the year for 1996.

“When I found out, I started to cry,” said Daugherty, who was given the award this week as she stood before her students. “I told them to close their books and we’re going to celebrate.”


Supt. Charles Weis, who announced the winner Friday, commended Daugherty for her professionalism and commitment to science instruction, particularly for her participation in the county’s Science Teacher-on-Leave program in 1993-94.

During that year, Daugherty taught other science teachers how to implement the state’s new science framework.

After that, Daugherty received an Earthwatch Grant and spent several weeks in Brazil tracking the effects of the shrinking rain forest on wild pigs and monkeys.

She said she tries to carry her hands-on research experience back to the classroom. “I really think that most people want to continue to learn throughout their lives, and teaching allows you to do that,” Daugherty said.

Daugherty began her teaching career as a middle school teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District after graduating from Cal State Northridge in 1963.

She took time off in 1967 to raise children and sell real estate.

In 1980, debating between continuing in real estate and returning to teaching, Daugherty took a job as a substitute teacher in Ventura County.


After her second day, she knew she had to be back in the classroom full time.

“It’s the kids, more than anything,” Daugherty said. “They make me laugh. It’s really fun to see them grow during the course of a year. They give you life.”