IUSD Announces 2021-22 Teachers of the Year

Teachers of the Year 21-22

IUSD announced the three Teachers of the Year and the four Teachers of Promise for the 2021-22 school year today. 

IUSD’s Teacher of the Year program recognizes exceptional instructors at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Below are this year’s Teacher of the Year honorees.

Teachers of the Year

Elementary School

Marisa Hansink is a Kindergarten Teacher at College Park Elementary School, who also received the excellence in teaching award for College Park this year.  Mrs. Hansink uses positive reinforcement in the classroom and is committed to developing a life-long love of learning for her students. In addition to her work with Professional Learning Communities at College Park, which use evidence of student learning to drive continuous improvement of instruction and interventions, she is also the school’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports lead and helps teach the home-hospital program to one of her students on medical leave.

“Mrs. Hansink loves to help, collaborate and cares about others,” said College Park Principal Meg Gwyn.  “She has a beautiful heart, is compassionate and caring to all.”

Middle School

Tim Leavey is a Social Science and English Teacher at South Lake Middle School, who is known for his student-centered approach to teaching and learning. “Tim takes the time to know each student individually, which makes a difference in engaging students,” said South Lake Social Studies Teacher Reeve Hartman, who also team-teaches with Mr. Leavey.  “Anybody who walks into Mr. Leavey’s classroom can feel the safe space that he has created so that students deepen their thinking and share their opinions.”

Mr. Leavey is known for bringing history lessons to life, while engaging students and providing high-quality instruction.  His unique blend of expertise, innovation and collaboration have made him a standout educator, appreciated by both students and staff.  

High School

Ben Case is an outstanding Instrumental Music Teacher at Northwood High School, who was also named a Grammy Teacher of the Year semifinalist in 2015.  Mr. Case helped grow Northwood High’s instrumental musical program, which is now one of the largest in the state.  The school boasts 787 students in the band and orchestra program, including more than 120 musicians in one of Northwood’s four Jazz Ensembles.  Such high levels of participation is virtually unheard of in high school. 

“Ben’s passion for music results in full classes year after year, and draws students to Northwood High School to be a part of his program,” said Arts IUSD Director Brad Van Patten.  “The energy and communication he brings to the stage as a conductor leave no doubt as to why our high school musicians want and love to be involved in his program.”

For the last 15 years, Mr. Case has organized IUSD’s Band Spectacular, an exciting mega concert in which marching bands from all five comprehensive high schools join forces to demonstrate the power and spectacle of performative art.

Teachers of Promise
IUSD also recognizes a handful of standout first- and second-year teachers, who are announced as “Teachers of Promise.  Click here for the 2021-22 Teachers of Promise.

Excellence in Teaching Awards Banquet
All of this year’s honorees will be formally recognized in April at the Excellence in Teaching Awards program, organized each year by the Irvine Teachers Association and IUSD.