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Anthony Overton honored as high school teacher of the year 

Anthony Overton, Paso Robles High School, Teacher of Year

Anthony Overton is the Paso Robles High School Teacher of the Year. Photo by Meagan Friberg

Dedicated teacher and coach earns well-deserved recognition

When Anthony Overton was honored by his fellow staff members as the Paso Robles High School Teacher of the Year at their March staff meeting, it was a “humbling experience” that left the popular chemistry teacher speechless.

“It was kind of surreal,” Overton said. “I was just speechless and I didn’t know how I should feel, but it’s really nice to be recognized for all that you do and to have the staff come out and say ‘thank you’ is just amazing.”

A science teacher at the high school, Overton joined the staff five years ago after completing a little over three years of student teaching at the high school under Ralph Lewis and Mark Fairbank. When Lewis retired, an opening in the department made room for Overton to stay full-time. He teaches chemistry, AP chemistry and forensic science, a new class added to the high school curriculum this year. He is part of the coaching staff for the Bearcats’ cross country team and is the lead sprints and jumps coach for track; last year, Overton was the assistant coach for the varsity girls’ soccer team.

‘Quite an accomplishment’

Nominations for the annual award are submitted by the teachers on campus, compiled, and then a form is sent out to everyone on staff to vote – this year there were about 12 nominations, according to Principal Randy Nelson.

“In a staff of ninety, to be selected as Teacher of the Year is quite an accomplishment,” said Nelson. “Anthony is so well-deserving of this honor. He is a relatively young teacher and already, in the first five years of his career, he has made a profound impact here at Paso Robles High School. Teaching Chemistry including Advanced Placement Chemistry and being involved in starting our Crimson Crew program, coaching our track and field, helping out with soccer and more – Anthony is an integral part of our high school and the kids just absolutely love him.”

On top of that, Nelson referred to Overton as “a brilliant, exceptionally intelligent individual.” In addition, Nelson said Overton’s ability to explain things in a way that kids understand is what really sets him apart as a teacher.

“He understands very difficult concepts and ideas but he is especially gifted at his ability to relate that information to students,” said Nelson. “I think that’s what makes Anthony such an effective teacher and why he is so popular here on campus.”

A love for teaching

Overton grew up in Placerville, CA, and graduated from El Dorado High School before attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After first majoring in engineering, Overton switched majors and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and his single subject teaching credential in chemistry. It was while tutoring others that he discovered a love for teaching and, with encouragement from Dr. Seth Bush, he was given the opportunity to work with students in a classroom setting and also helped set up Cal Poly’s Learn By Doing program which is still going strong today.

“Working in a teaching environment while at Cal Poly helped me to decide to become a teacher,” he said. “Now, working at Paso High is so enjoyable. The science department here is second to none – I just can’t imagine working with a different group of individuals. In fact, getting the Teacher of the Year award would not have been even remotely possible without all of the teachers in this department as well as many of the other teachers on campus including Marcy Goodnow and Jennifer Bedrosian; everybody is doing so much to make a positive impact on these kids at Paso High and it really makes me want to do the same. As co-workers, we push each other to find more fun and creative ways to do our jobs.”

Since receiving the award, Overton has been overwhelmed by the response from his coworkers, school personnel, and students.

“I have been getting a lot of congratulations around campus,” said Overton, “and it just adds to the overall great feeling that goes along with receiving this honor. I think the much bigger impact is the recognition and great comments that I am getting from the students – the students are why I do this job that I love.”

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About the author: Reporter Meagan Friberg

Meagan Friberg is a reporter for the Paso Robles Daily News and A-Town Daily News.

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