Top of the World Elementary School teacher Halle Davidson and Debby Nash, a special education and student services specialist, were selected as teacher of the year and classified employee of the year, respectively, by the Laguna Beach school district.
“Debby is an ultimate professional,” said Irene White, director of special education and student services. “She is always willing to go above and beyond to help staff, parents and other agencies we collaborate with on behalf of students.”
In 1999, Nash started her employment as administrative assistant to the director of special education. As a result of a growing number of students eligible for special education, Nash’s job responsibilities increased. In 2014, her position was reclassified to special education and student services specialist.
Nash’s parents and son are district alumni.
In addition to Nash, finalists for the award included El Morro Elementary nutrition services assistant Tami Cloward and special education assistant Agnes McManus, Thurston Middle School custodian Roger Fernandez, and Laguna Beach High School campus supervisor Mark Harris.
Davidson will be recognized at the Orange County Department of Education Teacher of the Year dinner in October.
“I can’t think of a more deserving recipient for this incredible honor,” said Top of the World Principal Mike Conlon. “Halle is a dynamic teacher that does so much to meet the diverse needs of all her students.”
Davidson takes time to develop creative ways of teaching the curriculum, often commended by her peers for finding ways to reach every student through fun, hands-on lessons. For example, she baked layered cakes to teach landforms and created 3D items to explain math concepts.
Davidson began teaching at TOW in 1993 and has served on various committees, headed various programs and participated in countless professional trainings along the way.
“I can honestly say that I am daunted by the honor of being recognized by my peers,” said Davidson in a statement.
She was sitting on the ground amid her second-grade students when administrators arrived with balloons to surprise her with the news.