From the Humboldt County Office of Education:
Nora Wynne, a sixth- through eighth-grade Spanish teacher at McKinleyville Middle School, has been named as one of five 2021 California Teachers of the Year.
Wynne is the third Humboldt County teacher to receive this prestigious honor, joining Pacific Union’s John McGuire in 1996 and Fortuna Elementary’s Bruce Fisher in 1991.
When reached for comment, Wynne said, “It’s an honor to receive such an award, especially at this time when I know how hard teachers are working. So many teachers in McKinleyville, and all over the country, are working double time, in a job that was already more than a fulltime job.” She added, “I am grateful for the recognition, and I think every teacher, whether teaching from the floor of their closet, their kitchen table or their classroom, deserves recognition in these challenging times.”
McKinleyville Middle School Principal Elwira Salata praised Wynne’s emphasis on inclusion and equity in her teaching, saying, “Nora is an educator to students of diverse backgrounds, races, and beliefs and she strives to know and see each student separate and apart from the stereotypes that contextualize their existence. She embraces her colleagues and engages with them in such a way that their good is nourished and they are capable of showing up and being brave. She gives us all a gift of listening and caring deeply. I could not be more honored to work alongside Nora.”
Dr. Chris Hartley, Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools said, “I was thrilled to learn that Nora was selected. She is so absolutely deserving of this recognition and we are extremely proud and thankful to her for putting in the effort required in this rigorous and time-consuming selection process. Being selected in not only an extreme honor and representation of Nora as an exemplary professional educator, but also a tremendous validation of the strength of local educators excelling in our rural communities! Nora is an incredible representative of excellence and a genuine advocate for the best interest of our children and community.”
In a press release announcing the five winners, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said, “In a year that might be the most challenging in all of our lives, these five inspiring teachers have made profound differences in the lives of their students and communities,” he said. “I’m proud that these educators are receiving this prestigious honor for their continued effort to rise above the challenges and connect with students even during unimaginable circumstances.”
Wynne was previously recognized as Humboldt County’s 2020 Teacher of the Year and a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award as well. To learn more about Wynne and HCOE’s teacher recognition programs, visit the HCOE Excellence in Teaching website.
After starting her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala in 1997, Wynne started teaching locally in 1999, and has been doing it ever since. In addition to teaching Spanish at McKinleyville Middle School, she is the Immersion Coordinator for Spanish Immersion schools in McKinleyville, and has taught in Humboldt State’s Secondary Education program since 2000. With a Master’s degree in Multicultural Education, with a focus on racism and homophobia in Teacher Preparation, she teaches future teachers about Classroom Management, Multicultural Issues, and more.