Seven teachers at city schools are among those from the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) who will be vying for a districtwide honor in March. They could go on to be named a California teachers of the year.
The district made the announcements last week, surprising the honorees with classroom celebrations. Those honored at Palm Springs schools were:
- Rosie Distefano
- Araceli Wagner
- Jennifer O’Connor
- Hugo Cruz
- Tim Nugent
- Veronica Silva
- Roberto Wheaton
Distefano currently teaches third grade at Cahuilla Elementary School. She has been teaching for 16 years.
Wagner teaches second grade at Cielo Vista Charter School. She has been teaching for 19 years.
O’Connor has been teaching for 20 years and is currently a fourth-grade teacher at Katherine Finchy Elementary.
Cruz currently teaches second-grade dual immersion at Vista del Monte Elementary School . He has been teaching for four years.
Nugent is the physical education teacher at Raymond Cree Middle School. he has been teaching for 32 years.
Silva is a science teacher at Palm Springs High School. She has been a teacher for eight years.
Wheaton is a social studies teacher at Desert Learning Academy who has been teaching for 35 years.
A committee of Palm Springs Teachers Association (PSTA) past teachers of the year will now use criteria from the county and state levels to decide if any of the seven move on from the district level to represent PSUSD at the county level.
Last year, Nichi Avina, a science teacher at Cielo Vista Charter School, was chosen as one of five recipients of the 2022 California Teachers of the Year honor by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.