Dr. César Morales, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools, is pleased to announce that Shannon Klemann from Adolfo Camarillo High School (ACHS) in the Oxnard Union High School District (OUHSD) is the 2022 Ventura County Teacher of the Year. Klemann and her students found out about the honor today when local school administrators made a surprise visit to her classroom.
Klemann is a veteran educator who has taught in OUHSD schools for 23 years. She currently teaches biology in grades 9 through 12 at ACHS. Her Principal, Matt La Belle, said she showed extraordinary initiative in keeping her students engaged with learning when classrooms were closed due to the pandemic. She kept her hands-on curriculum relevant by conducting labs over video, having students submit data on their experiments in real-time, end encouraging students to interact with text chat if they were hesitant to participate on camera.
La Belle says Klemann’s dedication to teaching is clear the moment you step into her classroom. “Entering Mrs. Klemann’s classroom is like entering a hands-on science museum,” he said. “After walking past the bright orange nasturtiums blossoming from the compost box that sits near the entrance of her room, where earthworms happily munch on banana peels, carrots, and old recycled books, students are welcomed into a world of biology. From skulls to scat, stuffed birds in flight to sea stars, Mrs. Klemann’s students are surrounded by and engaged in biology all period, all week, all year.”
Klemann recently brought biology to life when she took students on a field trip to Santa Cruz Island to survey and observe organisms in tidepools and intertidal zones. She is an environmental advocate who is constantly expanding her knowledge and adjusting her teaching methods to best serve her students. “I am particularly fond of using ‘transfer tasks’ in which students take the learning they have developed and transfer it to a new and previously unexplored phenomenon,” she says.
One of Klemann’s teaching techniques is to have each student use a whiteboard to visually display their understanding or confusion about what’s being taught each day. “Being able to see what students are thinking in real-time signals me to switch and adjust my lesson on-the-fly,” she says.
A love of teaching runs in Klemann’s family. Her husband is a middle school teacher, and her daughter is a student at UC Berkeley who intends to become a biology teacher like her mom. “When I look back and reflect upon my life, I know this is what I was meant to do,” Klemann says. “I feel I have made a positive impact in the world by inspiring and teaching the next generation of learners.”
The dignitaries who were on hand to honor Klemann today include:
- Dr. César Morales, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools
- Dr. Consuelo Hernandez Williams, Associate Superintendent of Student Services, Ventura County Office of Education
- Dr. Tom McCoy, Superintendent, OUHSD
- Matt La Belle, Principal, Adolfo Camarillo High School
More about the Teacher of the Year Program
The Teacher of the Year program is administered by the Ventura County Office of Education. Candidates are nominated by their district, school or professional organization. A panel of educators selects the winner based on the candidate’s essay, experience and an introductory letter from their sponsor. Winners at the county level become eligible to be considered for the California Teacher of the Year award. The first Ventura County Teacher of the Year was named in 1973. Additional information about the Teacher of the Year program, including a list of past honorees, is available by clicking here.