The Redondo Unified School District salutes teachers, administrators of the year

by Garth Meyer

The Redondo Unified School District chose a math instructor at Parras Middle School as Teacher of the Year, and honored other top staff members for the 2021-22 school year.

Dr. Nicole Wesley, assistant superintendent, presented awards at the May 24 school board meeting.

Casey Waddell was honored as overall district Teacher of the Year for her work at Parras Middle School. A teacher at Parras since 2013, she leads the math Professional Learning Community, coaches intramural volleyball, and is a leader for WEB – Where Everybody Belongs (which helps new students and sixth-graders). 

Wesley said Waddell had been instrumental in leading the math department to mastery-based grading, as well as her “above and beyond” efforts during the pandemic to create social-emotional activities for Parras students.

The Administrator of the Year award went to Ms. Theresa Van Dusen, director of the Child Development Centers (CDC). Van Dusen started in 2008 as a CDC teacher and became director in 2009. The program serves students before and after school at the district’s eight elementary schools.

Wesley credited Van Dusen with navigating the COVID-19 crisis to keep the CDC open to students and families. The CDC reopened just three months after the pandemic-enduced districtwide shutdown of March 12, 2020. 

CDC Teacher of the Year is Ms. Courtney Bailey from Jefferson Child Development Center. She has worked for the district since 2016.

The Classified Employee of the Year honor went to Lila Echavarria. 

Starting with the RBUSD in 2004 as an English Language Learner instructional aide, Echavarria worked at various elementary schools in the district until this year, when she was assigned to Adams Middle School as an Instructional Aide in special education. 

“You know an employee is actively involved in a school when everyone doesn’t really know what their job title truly is,” said Wesley. “Is Lila a campus supervisor, English Language Learner Coordinator, Student Council assistant… Lila may be an instructional aide on paper, but she is everything to everybody at Adams … We wish we had 100 more Lilas in RBUSD.” ER


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