Triana Ramazan said she was humbled as her name was read during the May 28 Laguna Beach Unified School District board meeting.
Ramazan, a reading teacher at Top of the World Elementary School, was named district Teacher of the Year for 2013-14 and joins an elite list of educators singled out for the honor.
Ramazan found out in April that district administrators had selected her for the prestigious honor from a group of teachers representing the city's four schools.
"I couldn't believe it," Ramazan said. "I asked, 'Are you sure you are picking the right person?'"
Top of the World Principal Ron LaMotte recommended Ramazan, who has taught at the school for six years.
"Triana is a teacher-leader," LaMotte said. "She sees the purpose of her work as more important than herself."
Ramazan works with students who have fallen below reading benchmarks and assesses students' progress three times per year.
"She believes every student is her student," LaMotte said in a statement. "A teacher-leader opens their door to as many people as possible to come and learn."
Ramazan's earliest role model was her mother, a kindergarten teacher, according to a school district news release.
Orange County Department of Education staff will select finalists to represent the county at the state's Teacher of the Year ceremony, the release said.