Laura LaRue Finalist, San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year

Laura LaRue, an English teacher at Bear Creek High School (Lodi Unified School District), has been an educator for 23 years.

"I just love what I do. I know I'm meant to do what I'm doing."
"I like to build relationships with students. I don't just like to stand up in front of a classroom and talk at them. I think one of the reasons that I feel that I am a successful teacher is because I know each student as an individual ..."
"It's through that connection that I feel that I'm able to assess when they are struggling and in the different ways that they're struggling, which isn't always academic ..."
"Sometimes it's more social-emotional things going on at home or at school ..."
"So when you say students are not being successful and they need to be successful, just having that level of understanding of your students and that level of comfort with your students, at least for me, it really enables me to be a better teacher in helping them deal with their academic struggles."
"Please let these kids come into my classroom. Please let them be there every day because they matter ..."
"The class can't be that team without everybody there ..."
"So, I love it when all my kids are there. I love it when, regardless of their ability, they show up and they allow me the opportunity to share what I know."
"What truly elevates Ms. LaRue as an exemplary teacher is her ability to meet the needs of all students," writes Bear Creek High Principal Hillary Harrell in her nomination.
"Ms. LaRue monitors her students very closely throughout her instruction, and she adjusts it as necessary to meet their needs. Most teachers with her level of experience would not ask others for help, but Ms. LaRue continually asks for suggestions, especially for students who struggle."