Masonic Teachers of the Year 2018
From left to right: Ralph Lopez, Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 Senior Warden; Yolanda Rodriguez-Nelson; David Olmedo, Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 Junior Warden; David Cid, Rio San Gabriel Principal and Bill Wood, Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 Master.
Anne Russell, as well as her Masonic Student of the Year Jacqueline Rodriguez, proudly pose with Imperial Elementary’s principal and vice principal at the Board of Education’s monthly meeting held last Tuesday, April 17, 2018, as the accept their awards from the Downey United Masonic Lodge 220.
From left to right: Alyda Mir; Ralph Lopez, Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 Senior Warden; David Olmedo, Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 Junior Warden; Dina Carter and Bill Wood, Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 Master.
From left to right: Ralph Lopez, Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 Senior Warden; Bill Wood, Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 Master; Christina Carlson; Tom Houts, DHS Principal and David Olmedo, Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 Junior Warden.
Downey Unified Teachers Receive Masonic Teacher of the Year Award
Four teachers are recognized by Downey United Masonic Lodge 220
Four teachers from across Downey Unified were recognized by the Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 at the Board of Education’s monthly meeting held last Tuesday, April 17, 2018. This annual award, which first began in 1964, is presented to a teacher from each level in the Downey Unified School District. This year’s Masonic Teacher of the Year recipients are Yolanda Rodriguez-Nelson, Anne Russell, Dina Carter and Christina Carlson.
Beginning at the elementary level, Yolanda Rodriguez-Nelson, a second-grade teacher at Rio San Gabriel Elementary School, was selected for her unwavering dedication and superior service to students. Beginning her teaching career in Downey Unified nearly 25 years ago, Rodriguez-Nelson has been a champion for her students since they day she stepped into the classroom.
“Yolanda embraces the belief of connecting with students and practices it daily in her interactions within the classroom,” proudly expressed Rio San Gabriel Elementary School principal, David Cid. “She is deliberate in building meaningful and positive relationships, knowing that each student is unique. By doing this, her students are motivated to learn because of her tireless efforts of relationship building.”
The second teacher to be selected as one of this year’s Masonic Teacher of the Year award recipients at the elementary level, was Imperial Elementary School’s Anne Russell. Russell, also a second-grade teacher, has been teaching in Downey Unified for 15 years. She has a model blended classroom at Imperial which incorporates 21st Century technology, provides her students with confidence to take risks and continues to expand their learning.
Imperial Elementary principal, Peggy Meehan, had nothing but admiration for Mrs. Russell as she spoke, “Anne invests herself in each of her students. She walks into her classroom each day with one main goal – to be the teacher she wants her very own children to have – and for that, I am very proud that she has been selected as one of this year’s Masonic Teachers of the Year.”
Dina Carter, an English teacher at Stauffer Middle School, was chosen as the third Masonic Teacher of the Year. Teaching English and also being the Title I Coordinator, Carter discovered her love for teaching at very early age. She accredits her passion to an English teacher she had when she attended Downey High School, “It was that day in Ms. Brady’s class when we read To Kill A Mocking Bird that I knew I wanted to be an English teacher,” said Carter.
“There are so many reasons why Dina Carter has been selected for this award,” stated Alyda Mir, principal of Stauffer Middle School. “She puts her students first, always. She dreams big and has truly made our school the best it can be!”
Selected from the high school level, English teacher Christina Carlson from Downey High School, was the final Downey Unified teacher to be honored. Carlson began working for Downey Unified nearly 26 years ago, finding her home at Downey High School where she has been since day one. Carlson has taught English at eight different levels, including being an AP (Advanced Placement) teacher. Aside from teaching, Carlson has assisted with Downey High’s WASC accreditation, and has been both a club advisor and coach of various sports teams.
“Christina has all the qualities that make a great teacher,” began Downey High’s principal, Tom Houts. “ She cares about her students, knowing each on an individual level, she sets high expectation for each of her students and she makes learning fun by engaging them each day. For all these reasons I am so proud to call her our Masonic Teacher of the Year.”
All four of the Downey Unified teachers that were awarded the Masonic Teacher of the Year exhibit qualities that direct students down a path that leads them to be citizens of strong character and globally competitive, while providing them with the appropriate tools to be both college and career ready.