Sonoma County Office of Education

Sonoma County Teacher Ross Hause a Finalist for California Teacher of the Year

10/30/2020 -

Burbank Elementary teacher one of seven finalists for the prestigious honor statewide

Santa Rosa City Schools’ sixth grade teacher Ross Hause has been named one of just seven finalists for 2021 California Teacher of the Year, State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond announced Wednesday.

Presented by California Casualty and supported by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage and inspire new teachers to enter the profession. On Wednesday, five educators were named Teacher of the Year while an additional seven, including Hause, were honored as finalists.

“It’s been an honor to be acknowledged by my district, SCOE and now by the state,” said Hause. “I’ve enjoyed such a supportive environment with my professional community, students and families, which I’m eternally grateful for. Even with this year’s unprecedented challenges in education, my students continue to inspire me everyday and remind me how lucky I am to teach.”

Hause teaches fifth and sixth grade at Luther Burbank Elementary School in Santa Rosa. According to his nomination, he is instrumental in creating a Burbank Family where he says “kids feel safe with a deeper sense of belonging that drives them to work harder in their academics, and parents feel more welcomed and part of our school community.”

Hause was recognized by Luther Burbank principal Debi Cardozo for rising to the challenge of distance learning and supporting students, families and school staff during COVID-19. “From creating a virtual career day to providing academic support to a former student that relocated to Sacramento,” said Cardozo, “Mr. Hause went above and beyond to serve students during this unprecedented time.”

Dr. Diann Kitamura, superintendent of Santa Rosa City Schools, added, “Ross Hause is an educator who is expert at forging meaningful connections with his students. He has taken that to the next level during this pandemic, even to the point where former students want to be a part of his Zoom class. Ross has also provided leadership to other educators and staff, sharing his knowledge around remote learning. We are all thrilled that his gifts are being recognized at a state level."

Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, noted that the leadership of educators like Mr. Hause is critical during these challenging times for children and educators alike.

“As we face unprecedented challenges in education, teachers like Mr. Hause lead the way by showing how to maintain meaningful relationships with children over distance learning and keep their wellbeing at the heart of everything we do,” he said. “I am grateful for his dedication and leadership.”

This is the second consecutive year that a Sonoma County teacher has been honored at the state level.

County offices of education nominate California Teachers of the Year applicants through their county-level competitions. CDE selection committees review applications; evaluate teachers' rapport with students, classroom environments, presentation skills, and teaching techniques; and interview the teachers. The State Superintendent then selects the five California Teachers of the Year and the National Teacher of the Year nominee.

For more information on the award program, please visit the CDE's California Teachers of the Year web page. Visit the Teach California website for more information on becoming a teacher.

For more information contact Jamie Hansen, director of communications, at 707-524-2620.