SAN JOSE, CA – The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is proud to announce Jan Blake has been selected as the SCCOE 2017-18 Teacher of the Year.
Jan began at SCCOE in 1974, working as a teacher in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program (DHOH). She became an Inclusion Specialist in 1997 at Oster School, bridging the DHOH and mainstream programs together. During her career, she has taught math, science, English, history, driver’s education, computer, and other elective courses for students with a hearing disability.
“She has contributed to the DHOH program vision and growth and adapted her thinking about what the program should be with changing times. Being so knowledgeable about the field has enabled her to guide and mentor new teachers and her peers,” according to Deepali Paralikar, a teacher at Oster.
“Jan is an advocate for all of our students,” says Sue Freedman, a speech pathologist at Oster.
Jan has created many opportunities for students within the DHOH program to integrate with mainstream programs and the community. In addition to her daytime duties, Jan teaches a sign language class at night for parents, staff, and community members to help her students connect with others.
“Her experience, wisdom, expertise, and patience make her a tremendous resource to all of our staff as well as staff outside of the DHOH program. She is the ‘go to’ person who people first think of for support when they have a question about almost everything,” says Bob Whalen, Principal of Oster Cluster Programs.
“We are thrilled to honor Jan, not only for the length of her service, but the quality,” said County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan. “Jan is a wonderful teacher who truly exemplifies each of our four values: students first, innovation, collaboration, and service. Her service has made a significant impact on the DHOH community in Santa Clara County, and she will be missed.”
After 44 years of service to SCCOE, Jan will retire this summer. In the fall, she will be honored on stage alongside other Santa Clara County district teacher of the year honorees at the 49th annual Teacher Recognition Celebration on October 22, at the Heritage Theatre in Campbell.