Crystalynn Buda Named 2017 Sacramento Charter School Teacher of the Year

June 24, 2016

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(Sacramento, CA) - On June 3, 2016, Crystalynn Buda was named 2017 Sacramento Charter School Teacher of the Year. Ms. Buda teaches 10th-12th graders World History and Psychology at Futures High School, a charter high school in Sacramento, California.

"Ms. Buda is truly a master teacher," said Natalya Burko, Principal, Futures High School who nominated Buda for the award. "Her ability to transform a diverse classroom into a strong community that embraces all aspects of our rich and multicultural society while continuously meeting high academic expectations, makes Ms. Buda a unique expert in the educational field."

Futures High School is part of Gateway Community Charters, a network of charter schools based in north Sacramento. "At Gateway Community Charters we are proud of the commitment and dedication of teachers like Ms. Buda who work daily to provide quality education and support to our students," added Dr. Cindy Petersen, Superintendent and CEO, Gateway Community Charters.

Crystalynn Buda was born and raised in Sacramento, California. In high school, academics didn't come naturally for her, but she compensated for that with hard work, and dreamed of pursuing academia and traveling the world. Through scholarships Buda was able to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu and study abroad for a year in Europe. After overcoming personal and financial obstacles, she wanted to give back to the community and inspire the next generation of students to pursue their own dreams. 

With a B.A. in History and Single-Subject Social Science Credential, Buda moved back to Sacramento and secured a job at Futures High School, part of Gateway Community Charters, where she has now taught for 9 rewarding years. Over these years, Buda has taught Cultural Geography, 10th grade World History, Psychology, AP Psychology, and a once-a-week Financial Literacy course. She has been active on various leadership teams as a Lead Teacher, Girls State Coordinator, and TESOL mentor. Buda has advised a very active group of student-leaders in her school's chapter of the National Honor Society. 

Crystalynn Buda's interests include: Holocaust education, financial education, and community service. She has a particular passion for diversifying instruction for EL and struggling students as well as for AP students. Based on her own personal experience, Buda believes that all students have the ability to overcome whatever obstacles are in their way to reach their goals. It may take more work or a longer time-frame than originally thought, but nothing is impossible for the person who is fully invested in their dream. Buda is able to live her dream every day, working with creative, innovative, and entertaining students, and looks forward to many more days in the classroom.

Nomination and Selection Process
Annually, CCSA is invited by the Sacramento County Office of Education to facilitate the selection of a local charter school teacher who demonstrates excellence in teaching, to participate in the Sacramento County Teacher of the Year program. Teachers of the Year are ambassadors for the charter school movement and for the broader education community. The purpose of the program is to highlight excellent teaching practices and dedicated teachers in Sacramento County. Teachers chosen as Sacramento County Teacher of the Year advance to the statewide competition where they are chosen as California Teachers of the Year.

A committee of Sacramento charter school leaders observed top nominees in the classroom and selected the winner. The Selection Panel had a difficult decision to make. All six applicants showed exceptional passion for their craft, innovation in their pedagogy, and dedication to their students. Other nominees include:

  • Daron Tracy, Heritage Peak Charter School
  • Teresa Lyday-Selby, California Montessori Project, American River Campus
  • Chrystal Baudot, Gateway International School
  • Yvette Hall, Delta Elementary Charter School
  • Melanie Driskill, California Montessori Project, Capitol Campus

A special thanks to the 2017 Selection Panel for volunteering their time to recognize the contribution of their colleagues. This process would not have been a success without them. Panelists include:

  • Nate Monley, Selection Panel Chair & Director of the Central Valley Teacher Residency, Aspire Public Schools
  • Vanessa Belair, Principal, Delta Elementary Charter School
  • Jim Scheible, Superintendent, St. Hope Public Schools
  • Tamara Williams, Principal, Hazel Mahone Prep, Fortune Schools
  • Mary Welch, Superintendent (Retired), Aspire Charter Schools

Community Involvement
Thank you to Lucca's Bar & Restaurant for celebrating the winner by providing dinner on the house.

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