Poway Unified's Christina Bass Named 2023-24 San Diego County Teacher of the Year

(San Diego, CA) - The Poway Unified School District is proud to announce that Christina Bass, ASB Advisor and 2nd/3rd-grade teacher at Painted Rock Elementary School, has been named as a 2023-24 San Diego County Teacher of the Year. Christina's exceptional commitment to her students, innovative teaching methods, and impactful community involvement have earned her this prestigious recognition.

The announcement was made at the 33rd annual "Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers" reception on Friday, August 25, 2023. The event celebrates outstanding educators from across the county and recognizes their invaluable contributions to the field of education.

five teachers of the year

The 2023-24 San Diego County Teachers of the Year are pictured above (left to right), along with Chanelle Hawken, Cox Communications (far left) and Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County Office of Education (far right)

  • Christina Bass, Painted Rock Elementary, Poway Unified School District
  • Wendy Threatt, Felicita Elementary, Escondido Union School District
  • Melanie Villanueva, Sweetwater Union High School District
  • Amanda Ford, Flying Hills School of the Arts (previously Rancho San Diego Elementary), Cajon Valley Union School District
  • Courtney Coffin, Orange Glen High School, Escondido Union High School District 

These five exceptional educators will represent San Diego County in the California Teacher of the Year program. The state winners will be officially announced in October.

The 2023-24 County Teachers of the Year were chosen from among 44 teachers nominated by their school districts for their commitment to students, teaching, and continued growth and development. Poway Unified's three nominees included Christina Bass, Painted Rock Elementary; Sanford Carvajal, Mt. Carmel High School; and Carrier Jennings, Monterey Ridge Elementary School. (Pictured below) 

christina, sanford, carrie

About Christina Bass, Painted Rock Elementary School:

Christina has spent all but one of her 10 years of teaching in Poway Unified and is guided by the belief that teaching and learning takes a village, with students at the center. She believes that while she has impacted her students, and her students have equally impacted her to become a better educator and learner.
At Painted Rock, Christina is creating community and developing a student legacy both on and off campus. As the advisor for to the Student Council, she spearheaded the 5th grade legacy murals on campus where students can leave their lasting mark with a beautiful mural. She and her students also built a butterfly garden on campus that provides an outside learning environment for all students to enjoy. Off campus, Christina is fostering important connections for students by partnering with PUSD high schools to provide a ‘Panther Section’ at sporting events to develop team spirit and pride. Christina is passionate about connecting students to the larger community and encourages students to make an impact in whatever they do.

About Sanford Carvajal, Mt. Carmel High School:

Sanford is known throughout Mt. Carmel for his dedication and empowerment of students in all that he does. His impact on culture and connection at the school is unmatched and the influence he has had as a teacher, coach, and ASB Director goes far beyond the classroom.
Throughout his 17 years in Poway Unified, Sanford has developed a knack for knowing how to find creative ways to engage students in their learning and leadership. The Mt. Carmel Red Sea Student Section is award-winning, thanks in large part to his development of student leaders. Not only is he an ASB Advisor, but he also oversees No Place for Hate, eSports, and Link Crew.

Sanford is committed to developing others in the community as well. He is a regular presenter at the California Association of Directors of Activities where he shares his best practices and ideas with hundreds of others. Sanford believes he has one of the best jobs in the world because he gets to help students grow up and grow into their natural abilities.


About Carrie Jennings, Monterey Ridge Elementary School:

Carrie has been a teacher for 16 years, half of which she has spent with PUSD. She believes her greatest accomplishment is the impact she has been able to have on students and their families, through trust, rapport, and the strong bonds made in her classroom. In her classroom, the motto is “This is important, you can do this, we will not give up on you” which resonates with students and families alike. Through this mindset and her intentionality, Carrie has created a classroom community and family atmosphere where each student feels unique, valued, and celebrated.
The focus on students as individuals translates into Carrie’s teaching as well. Students are provided with a voice and choice in their learning as Carrie provides multiple pathways for students based on learning styles, strengths, and interests. For example, she might provide a video option for visual learners, a podcast for auditory learners and a reading passage for those who learn best by reading. As a result of this, students are more engaged in their learning. Carrie believes that teaching is the utmost honor and takes the shaping of young minds and hearts that happens in her classroom very seriously.