Washington Elementary School teacher Shirley Giacoman – a student advocate and an exemplary teacher leader in the District for almost two decades – was announced as Lynwood Unified’s 2023 Teacher of the Year during the Board of Education meeting on May 11.
Giacoman – who has taught at Washington Elementary for 10 years for a total of 16 years in the District – was recognized by the Board of Education for her proven track record of setting up students for academic and personal success.
“I do this job day in and day out for the love of teaching students and helping to mold our country’s future leaders,” Giacoman said. “This is an incredible honor I share with my peers who, like me, are dedicated to holding all students to high expectations and ensuring they know we believe in them so they can believe in themselves.”
Described by her peers as devoted, passionate and student-focused, Giacoman has flourished as a teacher leader, setting high standards for effective instructional practices and making a difference in the lives of students. She integrates social-emotional practices into her curriculum and encourages students to stay engaged and adopt positive attitudes in and out of the classroom.
“She is without a doubt dedicated to students and holds each one of them to high expectations,” Washington Elementary Instructional Lead Yvette Cocca said. “Year after year, Ms. Giacoman’s students outperform those of her peers on District benchmarks and state assessments. Academic excellence is expected. Growth is expected. Mrs. Giacoman celebrates both.”
As a member of the Lynwood Unified family, Giacoman has been involved in a variety of District organizations, committees and events over the years. She is a member of the Safety Committee, attends leadership team meetings, and has offered expertise on integrating new technology and teaching practices into the learning experience as part of the District’s technology summit. She also taught intervention to support her students’ abilities in reading and math and served as a Math-A-Thon coach.
“She truly embraces her role as a teacher to ensure students not only learn academic content in the classroom but are also exposed to various cultures to promote acceptance and inclusion,” Principal Juanita Naranjo, Ed.D., said. “Teaching is Mrs. Giacoman’s calling, and I highly respect and value her for her unwavering commitment to our students and families.”
The announcement came during Teacher Appreciation Week, which all Lynwood Unified schools observed through special celebrations, Teacher of the Year recognitions and messages of gratitude.
“The impact teachers like Mrs. Giacoman have on our District is incredible, and most of all, irreplaceable. We couldn’t do what we do without our teachers who are leading our students on the path to successful futures,” Superintendent Gudiel Crosthwaite, Ph.D. said. “I want to recognize teachers across our District for their dedication to our students and thank Mrs. Giacoman for her years of dedication to Lynwood Unified and all she has done to help shape the future leaders of our community.”