Accolades that began last April have risen for Burroughs High School drama instructor Guy Myers to a significant level.
The district‘s 11-year veteran, who has racked up several awards in the past year and a half, was named one of five California Teachers of the Year on Friday afternoon.
Myers earned the prestige along with Cupertino High’s Sean Bui, Perris Elementary’s Brenda Barreras, Trabuco Mesa Elementary’s Mandy Kelly and West Sonoma County Consortium School special-education teacher Katya Robinson.
“These five incredible teachers receive this prestigious honor for their focus, drive and determination to teach young people in California,” said Tony Thurmond, state superintendent of public instruction, in a statement.
Myers’ latest honor may be his most special.
“Truly, I haven’t been able to stop smiling,” Myers said. “To have been recognized by my peers and administration when I won at the district level was so incredibly special because they know me personally and have worked with me directly, but now to be singled out by the state completely blows my mind.”
He added, “This is a career highlight, for sure.”
Myers is the district’s first state teacher of the year since Luther Burbank Middle School’s Rebecca Mieliwocki earned the 2012 title en route to being named the National Teacher of the Year.
Myers and the winning teachers were selected among county and local finalists representing California’s 10,000-plus kindergarten- through 12th-grade public school districts.
“It’s well-deserved,” Burroughs High School principal Deborah Madrigal said. “He does a fantastic job. He works so hard, and the kids really respond to his teaching technique and him as a person.”
Myers will soon head to Sacramento and have lunch with Thurmond and the other teachers of the year before formally being recognized at a gala in January.
Out of the five teachers, Bui was selected to represent California in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
The award comes amid an avalanche of acclaim as Myers was honored last April by the Burbank Arts for All Foundation, was named the Burroughs High School Teacher of the Year earlier this year, the district teacher of the year in April and a Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year in September.
Throughout the flurry of awards, Myers has received baked goods, high-fives and social media shout-outs he said he’s treasured.
“My students, past and present, have been ecstatic for me, making me cards, bringing in cake and posting things about me and our classes on social media,” Myers said. “They have been cheering me on every step of the way.”
Myers’ success has come while arts and music education funding in the district has been cut.
In January, district staff proposed eliminating three elementary music instructors to save $275,328 as a way to close a $3.5-million deficit for this school year.
Several local nonprofits, including Burbank Arts for All and the Burbank Education Foundation, rallied to raise the funds necessary to save the music teacher jobs for this school year.
“This is another example of how quality arts education can have a positive impact on students,” Burbank Unified Supt. Matt Hill said of Myers’ state honor.
“Hopefully, more individuals across the state will take notice and will invest more in education so that we can expand our arts instruction,” he said.