DOWNEY — Three teachers from across Downey Unified were recognized by the Downey United Masonic Lodge 220 at the Board of Education’s monthly meeting held on Tuesday, April 9.
This annual award, which first began in 1964, is presented to a teacher from each level in the Downey Unified School District. This year’s Masonic Teacher of the Year recipients are Lacy Atlas, Kathleen Carter and John Glaister.
Beginning at the elementary level, Lucy Atlas, a fifth-grade teacher at Old River Elementary School, was selected for her unwavering dedication to the success of every student.
Beginning her teaching career in Downey Unified at Gauldin Elementary School in 1986, Atlas transferred to Old River Elementary School in 1997 when the school was first opened. She currently assists in the GATE program, the Gator Glee and has coached students in the Carnival of Champions for the past 25 years.
“Ms. Atlas is humble yet determined to do the right things and to do right by our district, our school and our students,” expressed Old River Elementary School principal, Caryn Jasich. “She knows that the support she provides is essential in helping students build the confidence they need to navigate this ever-changing world we live in.”
Kathleen Carter, a Social Studies teacher at Doty Middle School, was chosen as the second Masonic Teacher of the Year representing the middle school level.
Previously an ASB Advisor for three years, Carter started at Doty Middle School in 1994 when it was still named East Middle School. Due to family priorities, she accepted a part-time position at the Downey Adult School assisting in the GED diploma program, then in 2013 she rejoined the Doty staff.
Carter is the co-chairperson for the Social Studies Department and played a key role in assisting the school in receiving the state and national Schools To Watch designation.
“She incorporates new teaching strategies and integrates new technology that she finds effective in always improving student learning,” stated Brent Shubin, principal of Doty Middle School. “Mrs. Carter is a shining example of what being an outstanding educator is all about.”
Selected from the high school level, Art teacher John Glaister from Columbus High School, was the final Downey Unified teacher to be honored.
Glaister has been a teacher at Columbus High for 15 years, teaching art and acting as an ASB Advisor. He provides support across the district, helping elementary schools by making classroom sets of student whiteboards and creating signage for various rooms. Glaister is also active in the Downey community assisting in building book boxes around the city while the public library is closed for renovations.
“Above all Mr. Glaister is an example for all on campus,” said Columbus High’s principal, Anthony Zegarra. “He helps in any way he can to make Columbus the best place for all who enter our doors every day.”
“All three of the Downey Unified teachers that were awarded the Masonic Teacher of the Year exhibit qualities that direct students down a path that leads them to be citizens of strong character and globally competitive, while providing them with the appropriate tools to be both college and career ready,” the school district said in a statement.