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Press Release: SSDA 2022 Teacher of the Year Award
Four small school district teachers were awarded recognition with the SSDA Teacher of the Year award. 

Sacramento, CA, March 2022 - The Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA) is proud to announce the Teacher of the Year nominees. The nominees were honored at the SSDA 2022 Annual state conference, which was held March 6th – 8th at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West.  

There were four nominees from small schools throughout the state: Vanessa Ocampo, a special education teacher from Maple Elementary School District, Ying Yang, a teacher at Caesar E. Chavez Middle School, April Hubner, a 2nd grade teacher from Rio Dell Elementary School District, and Janice Farmer, a teacher at Corning Elementary School District. The teachers were selected by their districts to be recognized at the conference due to their dedication and passion for education and their students.

The four nominees were praised by their districts and shared their reasons for teaching. “[Vanessa] will do whatever it takes to meet the needs of each and every one of her students,” Maple Elementary Superintendent and Principal Julie Boesch stated in an email. “She cares so deeply for her students and their wellbeing and is always willing to seek additional support and perspectives as needed. She’s a great team player and manages her team of aides very well.”

“It’s about being passionate, patient, and dealing with constant change,” Ms. Ocampo said. “But it’s worth it to see them [the students] accomplish things that they were told they couldn’t do.”

Meanwhile, Mrs. Yang credits her instructional aide, Mrs. Lor, who tutored her after school. “She inspired me to become a teacher and help students, especially first-generation students with non-English speaking parents,” Mrs. Yang stated. “I wanted to be the guiding light for these students as they assimilated into American culture because I was once one of them.”

“April is a teacher that brings enthusiasm, compassion, and love into her classroom every day. She exemplifies a student-first approach in her classroom by adapting and changing her instruction to meet all of her individual students' needs,” said Rio Dell Superintendent Angela Johnson about April Hubner.

“I love my job. I love science, love teaching science, love getting kids excited about the real world. I feel so fortunate to have landed in this great small school district, where I have been so lucky to work with so many wonderful people, experience all that I have, and continue to enjoy their support and respect,” said Ms. Farmer in a written statement.

The SSDA is proud to honor the teachers as they continue to bring their passion and enthusiasm to their classrooms and their students.

About Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA)

The California Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA) is California’s leading organization in terms of addressing, supporting, and lobbying on issues specific to the unique needs of small school districts. The mission of the Small School Districts’ Association is to provide relevant information and proactive assistance to small school district governing boards and superintendents through legislative advocacy, collaboration, professional development, and support services. To learn more, visit