San Diego

Superintendent Torlakson Visits 2 California Teachers of the Year in San Diego and Vista

One teacher was praised by Superintendent Torlakson for her own special kind of "magic" that helps students thrive.

Two educators in San Diego County who were named California teachers of the year were honored Thursday with a visit from the State Superintendent.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson toured their classrooms in San Diego and Vista.

"We really need to focus on the need to have more people enter," Torlakson told NBC 7. "We're 8,000 teachers short, each year that we need."

At 9:15 a.m, Torlakson visited teacher Megan Gross at the Del Norte High School on Nighthawk Lane in San Diego. Besides receiving the California Teacher of the Year award, Gross was also a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year award.

The visit kicked off with a special moment when Gross introduced Torlakson to her special education student named Gerald. The student communicated with the superintendent via an iPad.

Torlakson praised Gross for having a special flare he calls "Megan Magic" that really helps students succeed. He says the key to her magic is that she takes the time to really learn how each of her students communicates and learns in his or her own way, whether that entails verbal or non-verbal communication methods.

She is the type of outstanding educator that the Superintendent said he wanted to learn from by touring their classrooms.

Torlakson, a former high school science teacher and coach, also spoke about inspiring more people to pursue teaching careers. He says that is desperately needed in California's teacher shortage.

At 12 p.m., Torlakson visited science teacher Jenny Chien at the Casita Center for Technology, Science and Math on Cedar Drive in Vista.

Earlier this year, Torlakson honored five California Teachers of the Year. Later, Torlakson will tour the classroom of Mark Lantsberger, the Poway Unified School District Teacher of the Year.

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