Dunsmuir Elementary School teachers Susan Keeler and Susan Kaye were honored at the California League of Schools Educator of the Year Banquet in Chico on Jan. 26. Keeler was honored for her work with middle school students, and Kaye was honored for her work with elementary school students.

Both were recommended for the honors in letters submitted by former students and administrators, school board members, and parents.

The California League of Middle Schools and California League of High Schools Educator of the Year award is given annually to 22 educators, representing regions throughout California, who exemplify educational excellence and have made significant efforts to implement elements of educational reform in middle and high schools. This year, the League expanded its Educator of the Year awards to the elementary level.

Kaye has a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from National University and has primarily taught grades 2 and 3. She currently teaches a combined 2-3 class at DES, and is the K-3 Watershed Coordinator, SITE Council representative, ALICE trainer for the Safety Committee. “I never miss a chance to utilize our unlimited natural resources as an outdoor classroom from lava tubes to the Sacramento River,” she wrote in a document about her career.

Keeler has taught at DES for 34 years in grades 2 through 8. She currently teaches a 6-8 self-contained class. She is the DES technology coordinator (IT Specialist), athletic director, cross country coach, track coach, middle school Watershed Coordinator, grant writer, STEM Coordinator, Lead-Teacher, ALICE trainer for the safety committee, and vice-principal.

“Through my involvement with Dunsmuir Rotary, I’ve enjoyed making connections between my students and the community. These connections are widened through multi-day educational trips to places they might otherwise not have the opportunity to visit,” Keeler wrote in a document about her career.

DES Superintendent-Principal Helen Herd wrote the following script about Kaye and Keller which was used during the banquet:

“Susan Kaye: Susan Kaye teaches a 2/3 combination class at Dunsmuir Elementary School. She does a superb job of balancing the two grade levels to ensure that all students receive a high quality educational experience. Susan is a gifted teacher who truly understands children. She challenges her students every day to be the best student and person they can be. She gives them a solid base for success in school and gives them a love for learning that will stay with them forever. Susan is a dynamic teacher who sincerely enjoys watching her students learn and sparkle when they understand a new concept. She says that her students’ energy keeps her striving to give them every experience she can so that they can grow and develop into their fullest potential.

“Susan Keeler: Susan Keeler not only teaches a 6th-8th grade combination class, she is also the athletic director, the technology coordinator, and the lead teacher at Dunsmuir Elementary School. Susan Keeler is a gifted middle school teacher who truly understands young adolescents. She is an outstanding educator who provides an innovative, creative and challenging curriculum to her students. Her enthusiastic and caring attitude makers her an admired role model for all students and staff at Dunsmuir Elementary School. Her tireless efforts have made great contributions to our school, district, and community. She demonstrates superb teaching through her care and concern for her students, through high consistent expectations, and the ability to work professionally and collaboratively with her colleagues. Susan challenges her students every day to be the best student and person they can be. She gives them a solid base for success in school and gives them a love for learning that will stay with them forever.

“Both Susan Keeler and Susan Kaye understand the importance of providing our students with opportunities they might not have access to in their every day lives. Field trips to local national and state parks, museums, ice skating, Nordic skiing, and plays and musical performances (to just name a few) are an important and integrated part of their curriculums each year. Ms. Keeler and Mrs. Kaye are two of the best and most caring teachers I have ever had the opportunity to work with. Congratulations to you both on the well deserved honor of being Educators of the Year.”