National University

Alumnus Named California Teacher of the Year

Darin Curtis is seventh National University alumnus to earn the distinction

National University alumnus Darin Curtis, a physical education teacher from Tierra del Sol Middle School in Lakeside California, has been named one of five 2010-2011 California Teachers of the Year.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell has also selected Mr. Curtis as California's representative in the national teacher of the year contest. In April, President Barack Obama will select the winner from 50 candidates, each representing one of the 50 United States.

Mr. Curtis, who earned his credential with National, is one of seven alumni to earn distinction as one of five top teachers in California.  The other six alumni are as follows:

Lewis Chappelear (Los Angeles Co.) – 2007-2008
Gregory McFall (Orange Co.) – 2007-2008
Tamara Reina (San Diego Co.) – 2007-2008
Alan Sitomer (Los Angeles Co.) – 2006-2007
Jan Mongoven (San Diego Co.) – 2000-2001
Sandra McBrayer (San Diego Co.) – 1994-1995

Ms. McBrayer went on to become the National Teacher of the Year in 1995.

Mr. Curtis was first named San Diego County Teacher of the Year last October, at the “Salute to Teachers” ceremony sponsored by Cox Communications.  He is one of 15 National University alumni to be recognized among the best teachers in San Diego County over the past 16 years.

"What motivates me is the challenge of identifying the students who need inspiration the most," said Mr. Curtis. "Turning student interests into inspiration is what great teachers do. I strive to be like my father and the other teachers and coaches who took the time to inspire me. Even when an educator's day may have come and gone, there is never an end to the good that a teacher has done." 

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Mr. Curtis started as a classroom teacher and coach, but turned to P.E. as a way to reach more students. He is a founder of Lakeside Youth Basketball and Lakeside Youth Lacrosse, and volunteers at the local rodeo. 

"Curtis understands the nexus between good physical fitness and academic achievement, and he is a strong collaborator with his colleagues,” said Superintendent O'Connell.