Teacher named Educator of the Year

An art teacher at Clark Magnet High School has been named Educator of the Year for Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

"I am amazed, I am humbled by it," said art teacher Judith Craemer. "I know many fine teachers. I just feel very fortunate. I don't teach so I deserve an award; I don't do things to get public recognition."

She will compete against 10 other teachers for the statewide distinction at a conference in Sacramento next month. The award was bestowed by the California League of High Schools/Middle Schools.

"Judith Craemer is by any definition an outstanding member of the teaching profession," Clark Magnet Principal Doug Dall said. "Her many years of teaching have touched the lives of countless students. Her commitment to excellence inspires growth and achievement in all of her students at Clark."

Craemer — one of 15 nominees from Region 8, which includes Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties — was honored at a banquet last week. Nominations are submitted to the California League of High Schools/Middle Schools by colleagues or district administrators, said regional coordinator Susie Shapiro.

Born in Chicago and raised in Southern California, Craemer, 65, majored in art and music at UC Irvine. She began teaching in 1967 and joined Glendale Unified in 1980. She is credentialed in English and social sciences, as well as in the fine arts.

Craemer is also fluent in Latin, Spanish and French and has traveled repeatedly to Europe.

She teaches art and technology literacy at Clark, where she has worked since 1999. Her own artwork and graphic designs are frequently used for posters, displays and brochures around campus.

"What I enjoy about having her as a teacher is that I am not really a good artist, so whenever I come and she tells me what to do, she always gives us a second chance to redraw, and she helps us," said art student Hasmik Movsisyan, 15. "She doesn't just say you can't redo it; she always tells us to redo it and gives us pointers."

It's the energy of high school students, especially the vibrant interaction that can't be found at other grade levels, that Craemer said she loves.

"I really love seeing the light bulb go on," Craemer said. "I like the energy of high school kids … I like knowing that I taught, and, most importantly, I like knowing that they go off to the next step in life with skills."

If she could turn back time and relive her professional career, she would choose to be a teacher, Craemer said.

"There is nothing for me that is as satisfying."

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