Three Desert-Area Teachers Selected as Riverside County Teacher of the Year

Three Desert-Area Teachers Selected as Riverside County Teacher of the Year

Martín Di Felice

Riverside County, CA

The Riverside County Teachers of the Year are selected from nearly 20,000 educators in the county. The rigorous application process requires candidates to spend time reflecting on, and carefully defining, their teaching philosophy. The county teachers of the year are selected on the basis of nominations by teachers, principals, and school district administrators throughout the county. Applications are then submitted to the Riverside County Office of Education, where an outside selection committee reviews the applications on each district candidate and selects the four finalists. The selection committee then conducts on-site classroom visitations for each finalist before the county superintendent announces the Riverside County Teachers of the Year.

Edwin Detoya

After accompanying 12 of his students to a national wind turbine competition in Anaheim the previous two days, Bobby Duke Middle School mathematics and robotics teacher, Edwin Detoya, returned to campus today and was promptly surprised to learn that he had been named a 2018 Riverside County Teacher of the Year.

“I love my work and am very passionate at what I do because it is an opportunity to give back to education which brought me and my family where we are today,” Mr. Detoya said in his application.

Mr. Detoya earned multiple degrees in Engineering in his native country of the Philippines, a teaching credential from University of California, Riverside, and a master’s degree in education from California State University, San Bernardino. He began teaching in Coachella Valley Unified School District in 2008 and has been instrumental in securing grants that have led to the development of curriculum and competitive teams based on robotics, solar energy, wind power, and drone technology. Mr. Detoya is a resident of Beaumont.

Dr. Brian McDaniel

Dr. Brian McDaniel was raised in Desert Hot Springs, attended the public schools in the Palm Springs Unified School District, and is now in his second stint leading a music program in the district. Formerly the band director at Desert Hot Springs High School from 2006 to 2015, McDaniel has now sparked a new energy into the band and choir program at Painted Hills Middle School, named The Regiment. When he arrived in 2014, there were 75 students. Now, the tune is different with 250 students involved in the program—representing more than one-third of the entire student population and including every level of skill, socio-economic status, and background. 

“The Regiment is a safety net to protect kids against the trials of middle school,” Dr. McDaniel said in his application. “I believe my greatest contribution is providing my students with hope.”

Dr. McDaniel’s earned a bachelor’s degree in music from California State University, Long Beach. He proceeded to receive a master’s degree in education from California State University, San Bernardino. In 2011, he completed his doctorate of educational leadership from the University of Redlands. He is a resident of Cathedral City.

Michelle Beyronneau

It was the high school math teacher of Michelle Beyronneau’s mother that convinced her that she could actually go to college. Two generations later, students at Desert Hot Springs High School in the Palm Springs Unified School District are on the receiving end of Michelle’s belief in their potential to succeed in school and in life. When applying for a teaching position within the district, Mrs. Beyronneau researched the schools with the highest performing students, and promptly avoided them—focusing instead on positions where she could pour into students with the greatest socio-economic and academic needs.

“My greatest accomplishment in education is creating a safe space for my students—an eye in the center of their storm and helping them create a short or long term path to success.” Mrs. Beyronneau shared in her application. “I love math, but I could be happy teaching anything. I don’t teach because of math. I teach because of students.”

Mrs. Beyronneau graduated with a degree in mathematics from Creighton University in Nebraska. She earned a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Redlands. She is a resident of Cathedral City.