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MANAGES AVID PROGRAM: Shannen Avila, of Victor Valley High School, is one of two High Desert teachers to be honored as Regional High School Educators of the Year finalists by the California League of Educators. Avila manages the Advancement Via Individual Determination program and last year all 95 of her AVID students qualified to go to a four-year college.

Local teachers named finalists for Educators of the Year

SAN BERNARDINO • When asked what they loved most about teaching, two local high school teachers each had the same answer: Making connections with their students.

Making connections may be why Sagrario Faison and Shannen Avila were honored as Regional High School Educators of the Year finalists by the California League of Educators.

According to a news release from the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Avila and Faison were among 13 high school teachers nominated and chosen as finalists for Region 10, which includes San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Avila teaches at Victor Valley High School and Faison teaches at University Preparatory. They have been teaching at their respective schools for five years, bringing diverse backgrounds and experiences.

VVHS Principal Chris Douglas said he nominated Avila because of her work with the Advancement Via Individual Determination program. Douglas said Avila has managed AVID for the past two years, and he’s seen the success students have experienced.

“They drill it into their heads that it’s not ‘are you going to college?’ but ‘where you’re going to college?’ ” Douglas said of Avila’s work with the AVID program. “Last year, all 95 AVID students qualified to go to a four-year college. She’s definitely making an impact.”

According to statistics from the California Department of Education, Avila and Faison both work at schools with a large number of socioeconomically disadvantaged students. For them, that means getting their students into college is a priority.

“I won’t let my kids fail; we won’t let our students fail, period,” said Faison, who teaches history. “We want to see them succeed wherever they decide to go to college. We all take that responsibility very seriously.”

Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at

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