Teacher of the Month: Tiffany Gittins
Tiffany Gittins, who teaches a dual 5th and 6th grade classroom at Strawberry Elementary in the Bennett Valley Union School District, was named the Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for January 2024.
The recognition was announced Friday, Feb. 2, during a schoolwide rally at Strawberry Elementary, where Gittins began working as a long-term substitute teacher in 2020. She transitioned to the role of a 5th grade teacher the following year and has since created an accepting and calm classroom environment in which all students can succeed, Strawberry Elementary Principal Josh Wilson said during the rally.
“From the start, Tiffany has shown that she was born to be a teacher,” Wilson said. “She is quick to make connections with her students and she presents her curriculum in an engaging way that encourages creativity, exploration, and teamwork.”
The Sonoma County Teacher of the Month award recognizes public school teachers who go the extra mile for their students. It is organized by the Sonoma County Office of Education in partnership with Community First Credit Union, Hot 101.7, and Froggy 92.9. Nominations for the award are solicited via on-air ads played on both stations.
Multiple nominations for Gittins praised her for her tailored approach to teaching, in which lessons and projects are adapted to meet the specific needs of each student in her classroom. Gittins’ regular communication with families about their students’ progress was another marker of her dedication to their success, one nomination said.
“Tiffany Gittins is that once-in-a-lifetime teacher (who) inspires a child to follow their dreams,” one parent said in their nomination for Gittins. “We all have them — that teacher that left a lasting impact, the one that we still talk about when we discuss who inspired us to reach for the sky and pursue our passion.”
Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Amie Carter congratulated Gittins for receiving the Sonoma County Teacher of the Month award. She commended Gittins in particular for joining the Strawberry Elementary staff during distance learning, an environment that proved especially challenging for educators amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to educators like Mrs. Gittins, who met the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic head-on to ensure Sonoma County students received the high-quality education they deserve,” Carter said. “It gives me great joy to see the unique and supportive environment Mrs. Gittins’ has cultivated in her classroom with the return of in-person teaching.”
In addition to the public recognition, Sonoma County Teacher of the Month award recipients are given a $500 classroom supply gift card from Community First Credit Union, as well as a plaque, flowers, and balloons.
Gittins thanked those who nominated her for the award, adding that her students make her job “seem effortless.”
“The best part is that I have the freedom to teach in the way that I teach best, which benefits my students,” Gittins said about her work at Strawberry Elementary.
Do you know a teacher who goes above and beyond for their students? Nominations for this program can be submitted at www.sonomacountyteacher.com, or via Froggy 92.9 or Hot 101.7.