Weekly roundup: More honors for Tesoro’s music teacher, local superintendent updates, and more

Back in February, we learned that Tesoro High music teacher Keith Hancock was awarded the Grammy Foundation’s prestigious Music Educator Award for 2017.

Keith Hancock
Keith Hancock

Now we’re hearing the Capistrano Unified standout is in the running for another major accolade — the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize, which includes $1 million in funding.

The Varkey Foundation is a London-based not-for-profit organization established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world. Its Global Teacher Prize was created to recognize an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession, and to spotlight the importance of teachers in society.

More than 30,000 teachers from 173 countries were initially nominated for the award, but the field has since been narrowed to 50 finalists, including just one from California, according to this story in Orange County Register.

Hancock, who is credited with helping Tesoro High School’s music program expand from 35 students to more than 250, told the Register his job isn’t just about teaching music. It’s about teaching people, using music.

“That takes shape in a number of different ways,” he told the newspaper. “Class discussions, or the music itself, lends itself to me being able to speak to these students in a unique way.”

Check out the OC Register’s full feature for more on Mr. Hancock. And here are some other education stories from the week ending Dec. 15:

  • Orange Unified has announced a permanent superintendent, and the name is a familiar one. Gunn Marie Hansen, who previously served as deputy superintendent of educational services and has been the interim superintendent of the 28,500-student district since September, was recently approved by the OUSD school board.
  • After 13 months of construction — and several more months of landscaping and site work — El Rancho Charter School in Orange Unified formally unveiled its new Athletics and Science Center, which features five science labs, a 9,094-square-foot gym and a 1,731-square-foot dance studio, along with other amenities.
  • Seven students from Washington Middle School in the La Habra City School District earned honors in a national contest that challenged young people to tackle environmental issues and develop practical solutions.
For more education news impacting Orange County, be sure to bookmark newsroom.ocde.us and subscribe for emailed updates.