BURLINGAME, Oct. 17, 2018 Saying he is a “genuine leader” and the best candidate by far for students, educators and the future of our public schools, the five statewide 2018 California Teachers of the Year are endorsing Assembly Member Tony Thurmond for the state’s top education office – superintendent of public instruction.

The five innovative K-12 educators and CTA members announced that they will vote for Thurmond in the vital Nov. 6 election because of his deep experience in education and his plan to improve schools, his support for students as a two-term member of the Assembly, and the vision he shows by vowing to prepare students for 21st-century jobs with more focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes, among many other reasons.

“These endorsements of Tony Thurmond by the Teachers of the Year are a reminder about why classroom teachers statewide are endorsing him for state superintendent,” said Eric C. Heins, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “He’s the only candidate with the proven experience to do the job, the record of advocacy for all students, and the wisdom to listen to educators about what works in our classrooms.”

“Tony Thurmond is a genuine leader who seeks to elevate ALL students and teachers,” said Brian McDaniel, who teaches band and choir at Painted Hills Middle School in Palm Springs Unified School District. “As a child, he overcame incredible adversity, some of the same hardships our students face today, becoming a voice for our most vulnerable students. He is a champion of public education who has passed legislation to ensure ALL students have an opportunity to a quality education. I am proud to endorse Tony Thurmond for superintendent of public instruction.”

Thurmond understands why teaching critical thinking skills matters, said Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin, a second- and third-grade teacher at Northlake Hills Elementary School in the Castaic Union School District in Castaic, Los Angeles County.

“Tony Thurmond is an ambassador for public education with an emphasis on supporting all students and teachers,” Oxhorn-Gilpin said. “As a public school teacher working with elementary-aged students, I value his support in understanding the importance of teaching critical thinking skills and creativity. Tony Thurmond prioritizes the learning process for all children while valuing the importance of hands-on STEM education in preparing our students for today’s world. He looks at the whole child with a profound understanding of their needs that extend beyond their education and school day. I am proud to support Tony Thurmond as our next California state superintendent of public instruction.”

“Tony Thurmond is a leader who will support all aspects of public education for ALL students and teachers,” said Gregory Gardiner, who teaches Special Abilities Cluster environmental science and biology, plus a biology and sustainable agriculture class, at Edison High School in Huntington Beach Union High School District. “Tony’s vision for making California public schools #1 in the country is simply a great plan to move public education in a positive direction. I support his vision for increasing STEM education in our classrooms, empowering teachers to instill critical thinking and creativity in students, and renewing our commitment to special education. Tony Thurmond’s plan is focused on the whole student – he wants every student to succeed. I proudly support Tony Thurmond.”

Thurmond’s experience with school-based mental health services is key, said Jaime Brown, who teaches International Baccalaureate English and Film Studies at San Diego High School of International Studies in San Diego Unified School District.

“Tony Thurmond has my vote for state superintendent of public instruction because he doesn’t just talk the talk – he walks the walk,” Brown said. “His history as a public servant has left no doubt about his deep commitment to provide a world-class education for ALL students. As a public high school teacher, I especially appreciate his experience with running school-based mental health services. He understands that mental health well-being is an important consideration when making sure kids have the support they need to navigate the ups and downs of social development and the rigors of academic life. Tony Thurmond has consistently shown that he puts the well-being of students at the center of his decisions, appreciates and supports public educators, and has high expectations for California’s educational system. I am proud to endorse him.”

Thurmond believes in the potential of all students, said Kirsten Farrell, who teaches sports medicine at Venice High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“Tony Thurmond believes in the potential of EVERY child and understands that education is the greatest equalizer,” Farrell said. “No matter how humble a student’s beginning, public education opens doors for success. He also understands the importance of college preparedness and career readiness. Students need to see themselves in leadership positions, to realize anything is possible, and Tony Thurmond sees the potential of the students in our classrooms. As a high school teacher, I have always understood that every student deserves to have someone in their corner to believe in them and guide the way. Many of my students rely on teachers to be that adult and Tony truly understands the importance of the fact that great educators make great schools.”

These exceptional 2018 Teachers of the Year serve terms that end Jan. 1, 2019. Learn more about them here. For more background about why Tony Thurmond is supported by California’s classroom teachers for the state superintendent’s office, instead of his flawed opponent Marshall Tuck, go to www.cta.org/spi.

The 325,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.