Atascadero school district names its Teacher of the Year

You could say teaching runs in Teresa Goossen’s family.

The San Luis Obispo resident, who was recently named the Atascadero Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year, is one of five siblings who are educators. She’s married to a teacher, Arroyo Grande High School football coach and physical education instructor Tom Goossen, and both of her children, Cal Poly student Grace and recent UC Santa Barbara graduate Clark, are pursuing their own teaching careers.

“I’ve been blessed with a lot of amazing role models,” Teresa Goossen said, including her father, retired pediatrician Lou Tedone, and her eight brothers and sisters.

An Atascadero Unified employee for 27 years, Goossen has taught at Santa Margarita Elementary School for two decades. In that time, she’s worked with students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

“Being around kids is exciting. It keeps you energized. It keeps you on your toes,” Goossen said. “There are a lot of challenges, but a lot of rewards.”

One of those challenges was the recent economic downturn, the teacher said, adding that she’s proud of the way her district weathered budget cuts.

“We always kept (putting) kids first despite the fact that resources were tight,” she said.

Melissa McMurray, the district’s Classified Employee of the Year, will celebrate her 25th anniversary working for Atascadero Unified in November. She serves as the secretary for district Director of Support Services Stu Stoddard, a job that entails handling everything from work orders to shift changes.

“If you have a plugged toilet or a leaky roof, you call me,” McMurray explained. But she doesn’t mind the less glamorous aspects of her job.

“We have a good crew of people to work with,” the 40-year Atascadero resident said. “It makes it a pleasure to come into work when you enjoy what you do.”