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Sierra Vista Educator Named LA County Teacher of the Year

Wendy Payan, a Sierra Vista High School history teacher for 16 years, enriches her students’ lives both academically and personally – an achievement that has helped her earn the title as a 2020 Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year.

Payan was recognized as one of 10 Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year during a virtual celebration on Oct. 1, paying tribute to educators who transcended challenges during the pandemic and distance learning.

“What I enjoy the most is I get to see when the light-bulb turns on, when they remember something or learn to write the essay the correct way,” Payan said. “I love teaching kids something I’m passionate about.”

In her Advanced Placement (AP) world history and world history classes, Payan creates a safe and welcoming environment for students to learn and challenge themselves. Payan also serves as an adviser for Sierra Vista High School’s National Honor Society (NHS) and AP funding club.

Now in its 39th year, the Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year competition is the largest in the state and is part of the nation’s most prestigious honor for educators. Payan will advance to the California Teacher of the Year competition.

“It’s more than what happens during my class time. The engagement and the interaction that I get with students: giving advice, helping out and being able to guide them in right direction. It makes things so much more fulfilling,” Payan said.

The 2020 Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year celebration was held in partnership with the Greater Los Angeles Education Foundation, California Credit Union, Lakeshore and Arizona State University.

“Wendy has demonstrated a tremendous devotion to her craft and her students, and she exemplifies the outstanding leadership skills that we strive to grow in every learner,” Superintendent Dr. Froilan N. Mendoza said. “Her dedication, especially during these challenging times, is an inspiration to all of us.”

Watch the virtual celebration!