Susan Michelena: History teacher awarded 2017 PUSD Teacher of the Year

RB High’s social science teacher Susan Michelena was recently awarded PUSD Teacher of the Year, soon after her award as RB High’s Teacher of the Year.
Growing up in a small Wyoming town during the 1970s, profound authors like Woodward and Bernstein inspired Ms. Michelena to become a journalist. She was astonished by their intense investigations which revealed President Nixon’s watergate scandal. Thankfully for all of us, she later changed her major in college towards a teaching degree. This new career seemed like a perfect fit, since both of her parents and her brother are also teachers.
“History is my passion,” Michelena said. Michelena, or more commonly referred to as just “Ms. Mich,” has been teaching AP and regular US history for 26 years. The history of our nation is an essential part of education; it is important to take note that history must be told in its entirety and truthfully. Ms. Mich adamantly vocalizes the positive and negative sides of all events.
During her second period AP class, Principal Dave LeMaster unexpectedly walked in, with several other teachers and staff members, as they first surprised her with the Rancho Bernardo High School Teacher of the Year Award, and a constitution created by last year’s recipient, Paul Messerle. Our second period class erupted in applause as Ms. Mich accepted the award with a huge smile.
“I was very excited…the best reaction was my parents because they were so proud,” Michelena said.
This honorable award was presented to a teacher who exhibits outstanding effort in the classroom. Ms. Mich is the epitome of this award, her creative online worksheets and proactive teaching keeps her students learning.
“The smartest teacher I know… she’s just very nice and understanding,” junior Danielle Long said. Along with Long, Ms. Mich’s current and old students have only terrific things to say about their experience with her. Her openness creates a comfortable environment where students feel like Ms. Mich is not only a teacher, but also a reliable friend.
“She’s definitely one of my favorite teachers… I was so excited when I found out she was teacher of the year; it made me so happy; she really deserves it,” Long said.
Michelena’s favorite part of teaching is her students. Because she was isolated from many ethnicities in Wyoming, teaching in a southern California school exposed her to new, diverse students which she largely appreciates.
“I have learned way more from my students than I have taught them… My goal is to send my students out as informed, participating citizens,” Michelena said. Her dedication is evident and impactful. Ms. Mich’s contributions to RB High justify why she deserves the Teacher of the Year Award.

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