Sean Duncan is the poster child for everything that is right in education today.
At least that’s what his boss, Liberty Ranch High School Principal Brian Deis, thinks.
Duncan, who teaches physics and biology at Galt’s newest high school, was recently chosen as Galt Joint Union High School District’s Teacher of the Year. He went on to compete at the county level, and although he wasn’t chosen as Sacramento County’s top teacher, the honor is still highly regarded.
“While I do what I do because I love teaching, it is always nice to be recognized for one’s efforts,” Duncan said, adding that he feels he was selected because his students tell him he’s a great teacher that takes the time to ensure that all of them are understanding the material he wants them to learn.
“I am not by any means an easy teacher; rather, I hold each and every student to the highest of standards because I believe that all students are capable of reaching those standards if given the proper support,” he said.
To do so, Duncan said he always makes himself available to students outside of class in case they need extra help or guidance. He also believes that learning should be an enjoyable experience for everyone, so he uses demonstrations, labs, videos, computers and fun stories as often as possible to capture the students’ interest and motivate them to want to learn more, he added.
Deis said he could go on and on about Duncan’s accomplishments.
“In my 19 years in education I have never seen a teacher more dedicated to all students,” Deis wrote in a nomination letter. “He devotes countless hours at lunch, before school and after for students who are struggling with the content of his classes, or as a friendly place to gather.”
Duncan has also led the charge for the development of “Freshmen Houses” to more personalize the high school experience for the school’s youngest group, according to Deis.
It is a way to help make students’ transition from middle to high school smoother.
The teacher has updated the school’s website on his own time and provided training sessions for staff on student information systems, Deis said.
Duncan was among 15 teachers across Sacramento County who vied for the county honor.
A French teacher from the San Juan Unified School District and a math and physics teacher from the Elk Grove Unified School District were ultimately named Sacramento County’s Teachers of the Year 2012. The Sacramento County Office of Education made the announcement Aug. 31 at a county-wide teacher recognition banquet.
A community selection committee comprised of education professionals, including previous teachers of the year, interviewed each local district nominee and selected the two finalists.
All 15 Sacramento-area teachers, including Duncan, will be honored at a Sacramento Kings game in February. The Sacramento River Cats will also host a special Teacher Appreciation Night in April.
All of the school districts within Sacramento County, along with the Sacramento County Office of Education, are invited each year to participate in the Teachers of the Year program. Eleven local districts including the Sacramento County Office of Education participated this year.
Each district’s Teacher of the Year completed a comprehensive application packet, which included an extensive biography and answered questions ranging from personal philosophy of teaching to an understanding of current educational issues.
During the awards banquet held last month, each district Teacher of the Year was introduced by either a current or former student.
Liberty Ranch student Ricardo Ramos had this to say in his introduction: “Mr. Duncan will not let his students fail.”
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.