Granada High School Teacher Miguel Baez Named LVJUSD Teacher of the Year
December 17, 2020 - Livermore, CA - Designing an app, developing a video game, creating a website - these are just a few of the skills Granada High School students can learn when they enroll in a course taught by Miguel Baez. Whether they are in the classroom or online through distance learning, Mr. Baez’s students are engaged in creative lessons that prepare them for careers in technology.
On December 9, 2020, Mr. Baez was honored for his outstanding teaching when he was named the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) Teacher of the Year at the 31st Annual Alameda County Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony, hosted virtually by the Alameda County Office of Education.
GHS Principal Matthew Hart is proud to have Baez on his staff. “Miguel is the rare teacher that is as inspirational for staff as he is for students. He provides technological opportunities for his students that I’ve literally never seen in high school classrooms before,” he said.
Since Baez began teaching at Granada High School (GHS) five years ago, he has taken the lead in expanding the selection of computer science courses available to students. Mr. Baez teaches Exploring Computer Science, Computer Graphics, Computer Science Principles (a Project Lead the Way course), Computer Applications, Web Page Design, and Game Design. His Computer Applications course is part of the Dual Immersion program, taught in both English and Spanish.
As an extension of his courses, Baez leads the GHS Cybersecurity Club. The student teams compete at regional and state levels and have won several awards. Baez enjoys working with students in class and through the club. “My highlight about the teaching profession is building relationships with students,” he said.
During distance learning, Baez has gotten creative about developing connections and engaging students online. “When the distance learning experience started, I decided to study what streamers do to engage with their viewers. I set up a space, physical and digital, with lots of lights, animations, and overlays on my camera. I got into character using Snapchat lenses and just went in for it! It's great to see them laugh at my jokes or to hear them engage when they thought they were muted,” said Baez.
LVJUSD Superintendent Kelly Bowers praised Baez for his excellence as a high school teacher and his collaboration with elementary STEM teachers. His GHS computer science students used Webex to teach students at Altamont Creek Elementary how to program Sphero robots. “Mr. Baez is creative and fun. He engages students, and he collaborates with colleagues. He is a model teacher,” she said.
Baez is humbled by his award. “I feel so fortunate to be recognized by my peers, my district, and my students. In my young career as an educator, I have seen so many teachers make a difference in students' lives every day. I always try to learn from them and connect whenever possible, as it is the mission of the educator to be a safe place and an integral part in a young person's life.”