Lucia Mar’s teacher of the year: Payne feels the love


For seventh-grade science teacher Kurt Payne, being named Teacher of the Year for the Lucia Mar Unified School District was “bittersweet.”

After teaching for 13 years at Judkins Middle School, Payne will move to Mesa Middle in the fall to work in a new role overseeing teachers there in a training and evaluation program being implemented at seven district schools.

Over the years, Payne has watched students delve into his classroom projects, including extracting DNA from wheat germ or researching sea slugs, octopus and other invertebrates. He also coaches cross country and track.

“I enjoy hands-on activities with my students,” Payne said, speaking like a true Cal Poly graduate (he has a degree in biological sciences from the university). “My job is to guide and manage what they’re learning and to keep them focused.”

Lucia Mar Superintendent Jim Hogeboom said Payne “is an amazing science teacher with contagious energy, enthusiasm and instructional skills.”

The district also named Linda Kipe its Classified Employee of the Year. Kipe works in the district’s business office.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Andy Stenson was selected as Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators for the region serving San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.