Ruth Simonds, a U.S. history teacher at Quartz Hill HIgh School and a lifelong Antelope Valley resident, earned the AVUHSD’s top teacher honor.

LANCASTER — Quartz Hill High School teacher Ruth Simonds is the 2019 Antelope Valley Union High School District Teacher of the Year, and bilingual secretary Lorena Durr is the 2019 Classified Employee of the Year.

Simonds, Durr and other employees were honored Monday night at the District’s 35th annual Employee Recognition program at Lancaster High School.

Simonds, a U.S. history teacher, has been teaching for 22 years, the last 14 years at Quartz Hill High School.

“Winning the District Teacher of the Year is incredibly humbling, Simonds wrote in an email.

“I am filled with pride knowing that my colleagues consider me to be part of such a small and distinguished group of teachers. I grew up in the Antelope Valley and am a product of the AVUHSD. To represent the teachers in this way is an honor I couldn’t even imagine.”

Simonds is involved in many different capacities at Quartz Hill High, including academic adviser for Quartz Hill, and previously Highland High, football, American Cancer Society Club Adviser and Senior Class Adviser.

Teacher Jeffrey Cassady nominated Simonds for the honor. He described Simonds as a dear colleague.

“She is always willing to help develop lesson plans and offer ideas to U.S. history colleagues. She never misses a department meeting, and always participates in any meeting with alacrity and enthusiasm. And I speak from personal experience, because I taught in the classroom next door from 2006 to 2008. Whenever I needed something I could always go to Ruth,” Cassady wrote.

Currently, her demonstrated commitment to staff and students is wonderfully articulated through her leadership in shaping a kinder, more positive campus culture, something that will benefit us all right now and will endure as long as she teaches here.

Simonds was selected as Teacher of the Year from the school site Teachers of the Year. Those are Dale Hobart, Antelope Valley High School; Evelyn Rivas, Eastside High School; Samuel “Jeff” Smith, Highland High School; Cynthia Sawyer, Knight High School; Alma De Llano, Lancaster High School; Bonnie Miller, Littlerock High School; Cassandra Hyman, Palmdale High School; and Jody Finks, Alternative Education Schools Group.

Durr, who works in the District office in the migrant education program, was nominated by Melani Buie in purchasing.

“She is great in this position because she happily takes care of students, both young and old, with anything they need,” Buie wrote.

Buie added Durr spends extra time planning events for the students and making collages to commemorate the various events.

The school site level classified employees are Mauro Ramirez, AV High School; Scott Fish, Eastside High School; Edgard De La Cruz, Highland High School; Jamie Wolfe, Knight High School; Cynthia “CJ” Jones, Lancaster High School; Anthony Parady, Littlerock High School: Carol Nolte, Palmdale High School; Mariana Duke, Quartz Hill High School; and Mark Mitchell,Alternative Education Schools Group.

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