Peggy Lynch, a first-grade teacher at Top of the World Elementary School, was recently named the 2009-10 Teacher of the Year by the Laguna Beach Unified School District.
“To be chosen as Teacher of the Year is an honor, especially when one teaches with a group of stellar colleagues as I do,” Lynch said. “I would like to think that I represent the teachers at TOW, any one of whom deserves this honor.”
As she embarks on her sixth year in the classroom, she said she looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for learning with a new group of students.
“I believe that as a teacher I have a responsibility to set an example as a lifelong learner and to demonstrate the joy I experience in learning,” she said. “The most rewarding part of my job is getting to know each child as an individual, determining his or her learning style, and helping each child to achieve his or her potential.”
The most difficult aspect, she said, is time. “There is just never enough.”
Assistant Supt. for Instructional Services Nancy Hubbell said Lynch was chosen based on excellence in the classroom as well as her leadership in continuous improvement district-wide.
“In the classroom, Mrs. Lynch maintains the highest academic standards as well as the highest levels of support and encouragement for each child,” she said. “She has been a leader at Top of the World Elementary School in building a schoolwide Response to Instruction/Intervention Program that was recognized as an exemplar program by the Orange County Department of Education ‘RtI’ Network.
“She has also provided leadership as a district beginning teacher mentor, Curriculum Council member and representative on the math adoption committee.”
Lynch said her inspiration and passion for teaching came from her parents, who held educators and education in high regard. “We were taught from a young age the value of education,” she said.
Throughout her career, she has taught kindergarten through fifth grades and has worked in the Capistrano and Laguna Beach school districts in California, where she moved in 2001 from Danbury, Conn., where she taught for many years while raising her family.
“When I moved to Laguna Beach and began teaching at TOW, I knew that I had found my new teaching home,” she said. “Our Professional Learning Communities model affords us the opportunity to work in a collaborative model and my first-grade team is a constant source of inspiration and support.”
The most influential teacher in her own life, she said, was her mother.
“She was one of the most ethical people I have known. She set an example of hard work, compassion for others, curiosity and caring for the world,” she said.
It is these things, in addition to learning, that Lynch hopes to pass down to future generations.