California League of Educators honors two Fullerton School District teachers

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Fullerton School District teachers Mucio Vidales and Katie Bezayiff were honored by the California League of Educators as 2024 CLE Educators of the Year.

The California League of Educators, otherwise known as CLE, has unveiled its picks for 2024 Educators of the Year, with two of those teachers from the Fullerton School District.

The CLE annually recognizes teachers, administrators, counselors and other certificated personnel for exemplifying educational excellence. Educators are selected from a list of nominees and must fulfill specific criteria for their respective grade levels in order to be considered for the award. For example, elementary school teachers must show evidence of exceptional practices in key focus areas like student academic growth or teacher leadership.

This year, the league selected teachers Katie Bezayiff from Fullerton’s Maple Elementary School and Mucio Vidales from Nicolas Junior High School as its honorees for Region 11, an area that includes Orange County and parts of Los Angeles County. Vidales has also been selected as the program’s State Middle School Educator of the Year.

Here are descriptions of the local winners provided by the California League of Educators.

Katie Bezayiff, Maple Elementary School, Fullerton School District

Katie excels in the art and science of teaching, demonstrating prowess in balanced and structured literacy, particularly with Transitional Kindergarten (TK) students, many of whom arrive in her classroom at varying levels of readiness for reading. Despite their differences, her TK students consistently progress to reading at or above the Kindergarten grade level. In Math, Katie’s mastery of Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) fosters advanced academic vocabulary and strong numeracy skills. She embraces FOSS inquiry-based investigations in science, recently integrating Project-Based Learning with remarkable success. Leading Maple’s PBIS team, she elevated implementation from Bronze to Platinum level in three years, showcasing exceptional leadership. Katie’s commitment extends to community service, actively participating in the district’s Community Schools Steering Committee, emphasizing her dedication to holistic education. Her exemplary teaching methods and community engagement make her truly deserving of recognition.

Mucio Vidales, Nicolas Junior High School, Fullerton School District

Mucio Vidales is a standout teacher in the Fullerton School District, contributing significantly to the student experience at Nicolas Jr. High School. His primary role involves teaching Wood 1 and Wood 2, and he extends his impact by leading clubs like E-Sports, Spanish Theatre, and Speech and Debate. Notably, Mucio spearheads Nicolas’ Tiny Home Project, guiding 8th graders to build a tiny home for a family facing housing challenges. This impactful initiative has gained media attention, showcasing Mucio’s dedication to diverse projects that foster student engagement and community impact. His leadership in various activities positions him as an exceptional educator, making valuable contributions to the educational experience at Nicolas and within the district.

The California League of Educators offers practitioner-led professional development, including actionable strategies and concrete tools to support effective teaching and learning.

The organization has published a complete list of honorees and opened the nomination process for the 2025 CLE Educator of the Year program. For more information, visit the online form webpage.