Weekly roundup: Garden Grove music instructor recognized for excellence, top classified employees, and more

Nora Hernandez GGUSD music instructor
Nora Hernández was named one of the CMA Foundation’s 2023 Music Teachers of Excellence. (Courtesy of the CMA Foundation)

Monroe Elementary Language Academy teacher Dr. Nora Hernández is part of the CMA Foundation’s new class of Music Teachers of Excellence program.

The foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association. Now in its seventh year, the program annually recognizes 30 educators who are “having the greatest impact on their students, using the power of music as an avenue for change.”

Hernández will represent the Garden Grove Unified School District as she travels to Tennessee in September to attend the Music Teachers of Excellence ceremony. She was the only teacher to earn the distinction in the state of California.

“Nora gives her all to her students,” said Monroe Elementary Principal Cesar Loya. “Her ability to use music to motivate students and build their sense of well-being and self-confidence is truly inspiring,”

Hernández is approaching her seventh year of teaching in district, where she serves as an elementary music teacher and middle school choir director.

“I am honored to receive this recognition because people who look like me can see what I’ve accomplished and they can also be empowered to do the same,” said Dr. Hernández.

The CMA Foundation will invest $150,000 to support the award-winning teachers’ classrooms, music programs and professional development opportunities to help them foster thriving music programs for their students and communities.

Garden Grove teacher Darlene Machacon represented the district last year and was also the only music instructor in the state to be recognized by the foundation.

Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • OCDE is looking to hire additional writers to assist in developing three model curriculum projects centering on the Cambodian, Hmong and Vietnamese American history, culture and refugee experiences.
  • Dozens of students and adults took center stage in front of supporters at the annual Orange County Arts and Disability Festival at MainPlace Mall.
  • Recognizing National School Nurse Day, the OCDE Newsroom compiled a list of four things you might not know about school nurses.
2023 Summer Substitute Teacher Event Flyer
  • More than 250 parents tuned into a virtual resource event organized by Irvine Unified and UC Irvine to discuss issues ranging from cyberbullying and behavioral changes to mood swings and signs of distress among children.
  • Seven Orange County high school students were formally honored as Artists of the Year for 2023 on May 10. The students were selected from a pool of 721 nominees from seven different artistic disciplines.
  • The Anaheim Union High School District’s Arabic language program at Western High will continue in the 2023-24 academic year, as the Voice of OC reported.
KTLA 5 interviews Ben Case
  • Northwood High’s school pride was on full display when KTLA 5 visited the Irvine Unified campus. The Los Angeles TV news station interviewed 2023 California Teacher of the Year Ben Case, who was also recognized by OCDE last spring.
  • Capistrano Unified teacher Leslie Whitaker was surprised to learn she was one of six educators to be named as Orange County’s 2024 Teachers of the Year.
  • Marina High School Principal Morgan Smith made a splash at the campus’ ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the new $5.7 million pool on Wednesday.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.