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Maria Dowell

Pictured above, Maria Dowell of Renaissance High School for the Arts.

Maria Dowell, director of choral activities and arts coordinator at Renaissance High School for the Arts, was named the 2023 Teacher of the Year by Renaissance’s Parents for the Arts. Since joining the school in 2007, Dowell has served as a recreation leader for the Winners Reaching Amazing Potential (WRAP) program, an arts coordinator and a theater and vocal coach. In 2015, she became the director of choral activities after earning multiple and single-subject credentials. “I believe that music makes our world a better place, and my goal as a teacher is for my students to leave my classroom having grown not only as excellent musicians but as unique, creative, risk-taking artists, and kind and contributing humans," shared Dowell.

Anavelia Flor Garcia, a second-grade dual immersion student from Webster Elementary School, recently won the first-place award from the Long Beach California Association for Bilingual Education for her essay answering the question “How does being bilingual help you share the stories and dreams that you, your family and your community have?”

Millikan High School senior Jaylynn Damariz Lara was announced as a winner of the 2023 Shark Tank Junior Competition sponsored by the nonprofit You Run This Town Foundation. The competition encourages young students to be future entrepreneurs by developing and presenting a business proposal to a panel of mentors.

Melody Hubbard of Barton and Burcham elementary schools recently earned the Teacher Librarian of the Year Award from the Long Beach School Librarians Association. Hubbard was recognized at the Board of Education meeting on June 7. 

Janelle Harmon, an administrative assistant for the LBUSD Office of Human Resource Services (HRS), was named as the recipient of a social justice scholarship by the Educational Doctorate Degree program at California State University, Long Beach. 

“Through her work within LBUSD, Janelle has made a significant impact leading the District’s elementary certificated staffing which includes recruitment, applicant tracking, customer service and the implementation of certificated personnel policies, procedures, laws and regulations,” said David Zaid, LBUSD assistant superintendent of Human Resource Services. “Janelle provides guidance to site principals and often draws on her previous experience within the Departments of Teacher Quality and Leadership Development. Her past experience allows her to support sites with improved instructional strategies, redesigned classroom management, operational site systems and professional growth with the California Standards for the Teaching Profession.”

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