PSUSD Will Honor Three Educators As ‘Teachers of the Year’

PSUSD Will Honor Three Educators As ‘Teachers of the Year’

Max Rodriguez

Not all superheroes wear capes, some only need a piano and a sheet of music such as this year’s Desert Hot Springs High School teacher of the year.

Michael Bukraba is the Choir Director at the high school, and he has been there since it opened over 20 years ago.

This year his fellow teachers voted him as “Teacher of the Year” for the school.

“I teach with a fantastic staff, so the fact that I was even nominated was incredible, that I won was a little mind-blowing,” Bukraba said. “I want them to know that they should be life-long learners, they can make it and what I do in this classroom can help them survive outside the classroom.”

The teacher’s own colleagues are the ones who vote for the “Teacher of the Year” title, making this award even more special for the few who were chosen.

About less than two miles away at Bella Vista Elementary School, Caryn Ahlefled reads along with her class of first-grade students.

She is a transplant from Orange County but she embraces her new community for over five years.

Ahlefled said, “You want to see the best for them, so I feel it’s more of my nurturing side, I really want to see them do well and they mean a lot to me.” 

There is a fourth-grade teacher, Jennifer Liegey-Kennedy, whose colleagues at Cabot Yerxa Elementary School voter her as the teacher of the year.

Liegey-Kennedy said, “We all work together from the Principal to our Vice Principal to our teachers and the support staff, we are a team and I am very blessed to be at this school.”

Andrea Pascal, teaches teenagers at Painted Hills Middle School, an interesting transition for students as they leave elementary behind and learn to enter high school.

Pascal said, “When those light-bulbs go on and get those “Aha!” moments, it just makes my day and I love what I do and I learn from them and they learn from me.”  

While at Bubbling Wells Elementary School, a kindergarten class celebrates its own teacher for one of the school’s highest honors.

Dr. Christine Cvijetic said, “They won the dough-nut party, they were already screaming and then he said Dr. Christine Cvijetic is the teacher of the year and I just started crying again, it’s amazing because you work with so many amazing teachers and you realize what an honor it is.”

These five teachers are from the Palm Springs Unified School District, next month the district will pick three teachers from the entire district to name them teachers of the year.