Cathy Ahearn makes her way to and from students clustered into small groups reading Dr. Seuss books.
She observes their behavior and nudges those drifting off to participate. The day’s lesson is about oppression, but the most important lesson is silently being taught by Ahearn at Laguna Middle School in San Luis Obispo each day.
“I believe in empowering students,” Ahearn said. Colleagues will even venture to say that it is her forte.
Ahearn, a San Luis Obispo native who graduated from San Luis Obispo High School, was recently named San Luis Coastal District’s Teacher of the Year. She primarily teaches reading and comprehension classes to English language learners but also mentors the middle school’s leadership class and helps with the district’s summer school program. She serves on the Single Subject Advisory Committee at Cal Poly, she is the only teacher on the PTA and she volunteers with the FFA every summer to help students at the Mid-State Fair.
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This is her 11th year teaching and her fourth at Laguna Middle School.
Ahearn’s dedication to her students is well known. She often arrives by 7 a.m. and doesn’t leave until after 5 p.m. — leaving her classroom door open before and after school to students who need help with homework or simply need a place to be.
“Cathy Ahearn is an amazing teacher,” Principal Diane Frost said. “She is dedicated to working with English learners and spends countless hours planning for instruction.
“She is talented and creative in the way she works with her students and consistently goes the extra mile to ensure that her students have every opportunity to be successful.”
The San Luis Coastal School District also honored MaryLou Gooden, principal at Los Ranchos Elementary, as the Administrator of the Year; Frances Hallwood, senior custodian at Monarch Grove Elementary, as the Physical Support Employee of the Year; Jean Keller, personnel analyst, as the Clerical Support Employee of the Year; and Linda Sullivan, library technician, as the School Support Employee of the Year.
Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939.