NORWALK -- Josie Hernandez, an educator with a quarter century of service at the same elementary school, has been selected the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year for the 2018-19 academic year.
Hernandez, a kindergarten teacher at Moffitt Elementary School in Norwalk, was recently announced as the district’s top educator by NLMUSD Supt. Dr. Hasmik Danielian during an employees’ recognition ceremony.
Hernandez began as a paraeducator at the Moffitt campus in 1993 and four years later, after receiving a teaching credential, she became a full-time teacher for the school, starting as a 2nd-grade bilingual instructor.
“I am incredibly humbled and grateful for this experience,” said Hernandez, a resident of La Mirada, about her selection. “I’ll give it my all. I’m proud to represent all the teachers who stand behind me and work just as hard.”
Hernandez is now an entrant in the Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year contest. A total of 16 winners will be announced in September by County Supt. of Schools Dr. Debra Duardo. All of the county winners will automatically advance, along with other county titlists from around the state, to the California Teachers of the Year competition later in the fall. The top state winner will then advance to the National Teacher of the Year contest that takes place next spring.
Last year, Jennifer Hodge, a visual arts teacher at NLMUSD’s Benton Middle School in La Mirada, was named an L.A. County Teacher of the Year. She finished as a finalist in the state TOY contest.
“Josie is another excellent example of the caring and high-quality teaching staff we have in our district,” said Chris Pflanzer, president of the NLMUSD Board of Education. “The community has benefitted so much from her classroom work and professional dedication. Every day she has made the most of a precious opportunity — to make a positive difference in the lives of her students.”
Hernandez, 44, a native of Orange County with four children of her own, is the first born of working class parents who emigrated from Mexico. She is the first in the family to attend and graduate from college. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish linguistics and culture from California State University, Long Beach and a master’s degree in reading intervention from National University.
“It’s so special to have Josie be our teacher of the year and represent out district.” said Dr. Danielian. “She is known for her passion in the classroom and has been a wonderful role model for a generation of students.”