Bonita Vista High Science Teacher Jennifer Ekstein Named 2024-25 San Diego County Teacher of the Year

Ekstein One of Five Educators Surprised at her School with the News

Each day starts with a social and emotional learning activity where students might learn more about breathing techniques, meditation, or other mental health resources. She uses a variety of teaching styles to reach a diverse group of learners. This can include singing, dancing, or wearing costumes.

She helps students participate in authentic science experiences outside of the classroom through involvement in local science fairs and projects to create green spaces on campus.

She was one of the founders and facilitators of her school’s Culture and Climate Committee, which included students, parents, and employees. The group addresses issues such as racism and bigotry and encourages students to be kind advocates for each other.

“I recognize that I may not have all the answers or the ability to solve all the problems, but I affirm that I will continue to teach kindness, positivity, and agency,” she said. “My students reciprocate by bringing out the best in me as an educator. For me, there is no greater reward.”

“Today, we celebrate not just a Teacher of the Year, but a mentor, a role model, and a beacon of light in our school community,” said Sweetwater District Superintendent, Dr. Moises G. Aguirre. “Ms. Ekstein’s dedication to her craft, their innovative teaching methods, and their unwavering support for her students and colleagues makes her a shining example of excellence in education.”

SDCOE and Cox Communications celebrated all of San Diego County’s 51 school district teachers of the year in April at a special event held before judges selected the five winners.

Footage from the surprise announcements and the event will be compiled as a 30-minute Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers television special, which will debut on Cox’s YurView network (Channel 4 on Cox and Spectrum) in September.