The Annual Teacher of the Year Award Banquet Recognizes Two Outstanding Teachers

Two outstanding teachers, Sue Khorashadi and Cassandra Gaona, received the Teacher of the Year award

Math teachers Kristie Donavan, Sue Khorashadi, Anne Walton and Teri Dawson celebrate Korashadi’s “Teacher of the Year” award.

The annual Excellence in Teaching Banquet was held on April 27, where math teacher Sue Khorashadi and drama teacher Cassandra Gaona received the Teacher of the Year award for their hard work and dedication to the education system and their students.

According to the California Department of Education, the Teacher of the Year award is a professional accolade in the US. The program began in 1952 as a project by the Council of Chief State School Officers, and aims to award excellence in teaching.

Drama is a major part of the productions on campus and is what gives the Arts and Entertainment departments its theatrical aspect. Gaona, her hard work and tireless effort produces the highest quality performances possible. This allows students, teachers and parents alike to enjoy new worlds and perspectives from the comfort of the theater.

“I feel really humbled. Working for Irvine Unified, I’m amongst the super all-stars of the world,” Gaona said.

Gaona works closely with her students to create a fun and relaxed environment where she not only develops a sense of community, but also fosters a unique family bond. She is especially close to her students because of their rehearsals and bonding activities inside and outside of school.

“[She] deserves this award, [because] she is caring and makes us feel accepted.” drama student and senior Rowan Biggs said. “She is so much more than a drama teacher and for her peers to acknowledge that is awesome.”

Khorashadi represented the math department through her work as an outstanding teacher who goes above and beyond for her students. She inspires her students and allows them to learn the subject in an environment that cultivates and nurtures students to reach their highest mathematical potential.

“I just try to do the best job I can for my kids, and try to be there for [them] as much as possible. It’s very surprising to me because I work with an amazing group of Woodbridge teachers that I have so much respect for…We should have all been on that stage together,” Khorashadi said.

Khorashadi works with her students to teach them the skills and steps necessary to succeed in their lifelong math careers.

“I think she is very dedicated, creative, willing to take risks and try new things and she’s always trying to think of how to better communicate concepts to [students]. She never settles, and she’s always thinking about how she can improve,” math teacher Anne Walton said.