Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year (TOY) program highlights the contributions of Catalina Foothills’ teachers and has the support of the CFSD Foundation. The program annually recognizes two exceptionally skilled and dedicated teachers from a group of 5 “Distinguished Educators”. Nominees are those who have gained the respect and admiration of students, parents and co-workers, and who inspire learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities. They play an active and useful role in their communities as well as in their schools, distinguishing themselves as leaders.  

Thank you to our Teacher of the Year Sponsors !

Congratulations to our 2018-2019 Teachers of the Year!

Xi (Lucy) Lin 

Chinese Immersion Kindergarten, Sunrise Drive Elementary

Lucy has been teaching for nine years, five as a Chinese Immersion teacher at Sunrise Drive. While teaching full-time, she earned a Master's Degree from Penn State. In addition to her classroom teaching, Lucy is the Chinese Immersion Site Leader at SDES. She also co-designed and facilitated a three day professional development course for Sunrise Drive immersion teachers. Each year, Lucy assists in planning SDES's Spring Festival, in addition to teaching Immersion students songs and dances to perform at the Festival.

"I am so glad that both Simon and Cora began their Chinese study in such a good place and with such a strong teacher.   It still makes me smile when I remember the day last year when Cora asked to hold my hand and without realizing made the request in Chinese..."- Holly C, parent


Patricia Moore

Music/Band, Canyon View Elementary

Tricia moved to Arizona from Ohio and has been teaching music for sixteen years. She has been at Canyon View Elementary for six years, where she revitalized the steel drum program and created the choir and musical theater programs. In addition to the classroom, Tricia is a co-sponsor of the Student Advisory Board, where she leads fourth and fifth graders in school and community-based projects including a Talent Show and Adopt a Family. Tricia was recognized as Distinguished Educator for 2017-18 by the CFSD Foundation.


"Mrs. Moore engages her students with new instruments and music. She gives us the materials and knowledge we need to succeed, then gives us a pat on the back and says, "spread your wings and fly".  - Alexander C., student


Congratulations to our Distinguished Educators!

Teena Clark

Canyon View, 5th Grade

Teena has been an elementary educator for 21 years. She started her career as a fourth grade teacher at Whiteriver Elementary on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. In 2000, Teena joined CFSD and has been teaching fifth grade for nineteen years. In addition to her classroom work, Teena is a leader within CFSD and the community. She and her students collected and donated 1,400 books to help emerging readers at Literacy Connects.

"Teena is charismatic and creative, and she thinks outside the box. She has ... developed a rapport with students, colleagues, and parents that is characterized by mutual respect."

- Rob Henikman, Principal

Travis Michalak

Orange Grove, ELA

Travis started his career in Marketing and Communications prior to embarking on his teaching career at Orange Grove Middle School. There, he has taught English Language Arts in addition to earning his Master of Arts degree from National University. Travis focuses on key concepts to teach his students and to connect them to the community through critical thinking and emotional awareness.

"Mr. Michalak's class isn't my sons favorite class; however, it is the class that challenges him more than any other. In the long run, Michalak is doing more for students' confidence, responsibility and personal growth ... than most. We thank him so much!"

- Anita M., parent

Melissa Taylor

Sunrise Drive, 1st Grade

Melissa is an alumni of CFHS who taught elementary school in Tucson for fifteen years prior to joining the faculty at Sunrise Drive Elementary. In addition to her work teaching first grade, she spent four years teaching "Opening Minds through the Arts", which integrated dance, music, art and drama into the elementary curriculum. Melissa is a leader at SDES and within CFSD, acting as a mentor for new teachers, and a facilitator for a series of professional development courses at Sunrise Drive.


"It takes an exceptionally adept teacher to enrich students all along the spectrum of their abilities, and Ms. Taylor's students left school every day feeling accomplished and feeling loved."

- Sarah M., parent

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Catalina Foothills School District



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The CFSD Foundation is a 501(c)3 that raises supplemental funds to attract, develop and retain excellent teachers in District 16.​​​