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Excellence in Education
Jim Kusserow honored as County Teacher of the Year
VISALIA — A happy and exciting occasion was what Wednesday morning was for the families and colleagues who gathered with hundreds of administrators, teachers and school employees during the 18th Annual Excellence in Education Awards Recognition Breakfast at the Visalia Convention Center to honor recipients for their dedication to the education of students.
“The Tulare County Excellence in Education Awards is a celebration of those who have made a difference in our schools and local communities,” said Jim Vidak, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. “They are true professionals and role models to the children and young adults they serve.”
Honored at the breakfast were the County’s winners, finalists and nominees for Administrator/Manager of the Year, Teacher of the Year and School Employee of the Year.
Among the recipients were several locals.
Jim Kusserow, Porterville High School’s band director, was honored as the 2012 Teacher of the Year.
“Jim has helped hundreds of student develop their confidence, self discovery and sense of community services,” said Rich Rodriguez, KMPH 26 News anchor who served as host of the event, speaking about each recipient. “The reputation of the band’s musicianship has opened doors for performances at the White House, Lincoln Center in New York City, Carnegie Hall, the Rose Bowl, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia and more.”
Kusserow’s listed achievements and honors include current president of California Music Educators Association, Central Section, induction into the National High School Band Hall of Fame in 1990, and named the 2010 Legion of Honor Laureate by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.
After thanking his family, Kusserow talked about teaching in the same manner as the master, the late Frank “Buck” Shaffer, taught him.
“Buck taught me all I needed to know about being a productive, responsible person,” Kusserow said. “Music was secondary. Notes were just part of the lesson. The end result was when you left the Panther Band and went out into the world.”
Kusserow also praised PC’s Dean Semple for pushing him to new heights in vocal music and music theory, and the Porterville Unified School District for taking a chance on a “kid,” Dale Anderson for the numerous lessons and continuous counsel and support, and his band room staff for the day to day help he receives from them.
“It’s a very lucky man who has gotten to achieve his dream job and I’ve gotten to achieve my dream job because people in Porterville believed in me,” Kusserow said.
In attendance was Kusserow’s mother, 93-year-old Maxine Kusserow, who said she was proud of her son and his accomplishments, hard work and dedication that has paid off, and for the endless hours of teaching and serving as a role model.
Kusserow is the second-consecutive-year recipient of the title. In 2011, Granite Hills High School’s Rich Lambie was named Teacher of the Year.
Also honored at the breakfast was Cynthia Brown, Porterville Unified School District Director of Student Pathways, who was named as a finalist for Aministrator/Manager of the Year.
Nominees honored for Teacher of the Year included Fode’ Doumbia, Lindsay Unified School District and Richard Osborne, Porterville College.
School Employee of the Year Nominees included Lily Hernandez and Brandi McCall, both from Lindsay Unified.
Named Administrator/Manager of the Year was Brian Hollingshead, principal of Mission Valley Elementary in Tulare. Cheri’ Barnes, lead personnel technician, human resources division, Tulare County Office of Education was the recipient of the 2012 Tulare County Excellence in Education School Employee of the Year.
Visit www.tcoe.org/ExcellenceInEducation for a complete list of winners, finalists and nominees.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.