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Teacher of the Year

Dave Chamberlain, Classroom Teacher

Claremont High School

Hire Date: 9/5/2000 

Years of Service:  16

Degrees: B.A., Pitzer College


Every year the former Teachers of the Year gather to review applications submitted by certificated staff throughout the District.This is a room of exceptionally talented, passionate educators and each year there is great debate and a very high level of scrutiny placed on each candidate. Every year the group comes to full consensus as to who the recommended recipient shall be.


This year, the conversation focused on a teacher has been considered at great length for the past two years, being edged out for one reason or another… but always with the group saying… this teacher is already a Teacher of the Year. It seemed appropriate that this teacher would wait for two years before being recommended for this honor because this teacher is one of those teachers who shines through others and one that works extremely hard not for their personal gain but for others. This teacher spends more hours working with students than most of the teachers in the district. However, when it comes to accolades, this teacher stands in the back and shines through the students who excel. At board meetings for years, CUSD has recognized the students who have been brilliantly instructed, coached, mentored and, let’s face it, loved, by this extraordinary teacher. Through working with this teacher, their lives have been transformed and they are set on great paths.


Recently, at an event, this teacher sat beside their student who was being recognized for a great achievement. Watching the interaction between them and the conversation over dinner that focused on the student’s future, it was touching by how teachers like this make such a difference in the lives of the students they mentor. They don’t just provide curriculum, assessment and issue a grade. They teach for life…. they teach for the future…. they teach to make society better.


The TOY committee wanted to recognize this incredible connection to students, the selfless hours, the impact on the future…. a true teacher who does teach the whole child…  but also the incredible leader this teacher is. This teacher, again, provides more service to the certificated staff of CUSD than most I have known. As current president of the Claremont Faculty Association, and having a leadership role in the association for years, this teacher not only is exceptional in the role of educator but exceptional in the role of professional advocate and representative.


CUSD is very fortunate to work with a leader, and the entire leadership teams of both of our associations, who are great teachers, have a passion for students, a desire to make CUSD the best learning environment and who realize that in doing what is best for students, we also create an exceptional environment to work it. This leader teaches in the classroom but also teaches our staff through a professional association is that by advocating for teachers rights, the ultimate benefit is providing the best, brightest, most engaging and compassionate teachers for our students.  


Claremont’s 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year began their teaching career with Claremont Unified School District 16 years ago as a classroom teacher and is currently at Claremont High School.  During his tenure, he has been an Academic Decathlon Coach, Department Chair, Forensic Coach, Individual Instruction Teacher for Credit Recovery and Home Hospital, Summer School Employee, and Speech and Debate Coach for the nationally recognized CHS team for the past 13 years.


It is with great pleasure I present to you, the Board of Education, Dr. Elsasser and the staff and the community, the 2016-2017 Claremont Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year – David Chamberlain.

Former Teachers of the Year

2016 - Sandra Nesbit, Condit Elementary School

2015 - Deborah Plumley, Sumner Elementary

2014—Terri Kegans, El Roble Intermediate School

2013—Karen Corrette, Chaparral Elementary School

2012—Krista Elhai, Claremont High School

2011—Carolyn Spanier, Claremont High School

2010—Leanna Prokop, Chaparral Elementary School

2009—Ken Kirkwood, El Roble Intermediate School

2008—Imetra Joiner, Oakmont Elementary School

2007—Jenny McGourty-Riggs, El Roble Intermediate School

2006—Stephanie Salamon, Claremont High School

2005—Olivia Simpson, Oakmont Elementary School

2004—Gail Mori, Claremont High School

2003—Sally Grogg, Sumner Elementary School

2002—Judi McKee, Vista del Valle Elementary School

2001—Virginia Ellsworth, Sumner Elementary School

2000—Jeanne Culbertson, Chaparral Elementary School

1999—John Sedia, Danbury School

1998—Jack Harper, Claremont High School

1997—Joan Felsch,El Roble Intermediate School

1996—LaRie Carter, Claremont High School

1995—Heather Moore, Condit Elementary School

1994—Rosemary Adam, Claremont High School

1993—Frances Gilfry, Danbury School

1992—Charlotte Brockway, El Roble Intermediate School

1991—Gary Iida, Claremont High School

1990—Dorothy Shamah, Claremont High School

1989—Bob Walker, Claremont High School

1988—Debbie McCurdy, Oakmont Elementary School

1987—Esper Keiser, Claremont High School

1986—Doreen Stalwick, Vista del Valle Elementary School

1985—Dawn Ridder, Oakmont Elementary School

1984—James Hill, Claremont High School

1983—Lillian Page, Sycamore Elementary School