It was a big surprise assembly honoring California Teacher of the Year, Michelle Cherland.With confetti and loud cheers, Desert Sands Unified School District officials and Carrillo Ranch Elementary students and staff congratulated the kindergarten teacher Tuesday afternoon.
“It was unbelievable. They surprised me once before and they did it again,” said Cherland.
From deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq to teaching children their ABC’s, Cherland was one of five teachers across the state awarded teachers of the year.
“I’m so happy for her. She was one of the best teachers I ever had,” said third grader Gary Swartz.
The teachers of the year are chosen based on criteria, including rapport with students,classroom environment, presentation skills and teaching methods.
“I feel like the military prepared me a lot for becoming a teacher,” said Cherland.
Cherland has been teaching for 14 years, including the last ten at Carrillo Ranch. She’s a mother of seven children and an Army war veteran.
“She left her family and left her students, all of her friends, came back and retired after 24 years in the military. Teaching is in her blood, so deserving,” said principal John Waybrant.
Cherland will be honored at a gala event in Sacramento in February.
“Keep resilient and roll with the punches. Everything we do is important,” Cherland’s advice to her fellow teachers.