BY DAVID JAMES HEISS
After five brief years working for the Banning school district, Jessica Boucher has been named this year’s Teacher of the Year.
Boucher is a teacher on special assignment in the district’s Education Services Department, where she works in professional development, English language development and Gifted And Talented Education, as well as teacher support.
She is also a finalist among candidates for the Riverside County Office of Education’s Teacher of the Year.
In 2015 her work in Banning started at Hemmerling Elementary School, where she was a teacher.
Ileana Gutierrez, serving as her first year as principal at Hemmerling, never got to serv as Boucher’s principal, but expresses “I’ve had the pleasure to work with Mrs. Boucher at the district level. Her dedication and talent is a blessing to our district.”
According to Gutierrez’s observation, Boucher “is well-regarded by her colleagues, and Hemmerling continues to benefit from her professionalism, expertise and ongoing contribution to our community.”
During comments at the May 27 school board meeting, Superintendent Natasha Baker called Boucher “phenomenal.”
Recalling initial interactions with Boucher, Baker said “I didn’t know that she was actually the Teacher of the Year. I was just admiring her work. She is a phenomenal educator and has been such a huge support for the work we’re trying to do and communicate in supporting staff and students.”
Boucher is working on her doctorate at the University of Redlands in Educational Leadership for Social Justice, focusing on work that engages empathy, equity, understanding and inclusivity.
She earned her multiple subject teaching credential from California State University, San Bernardino in 2010, and a master’s degree in educational technology from California State University, Fullerton.
She also has an associate of science degree from Riverside Community College.
Besides mentoring new teachers in the district, she also helps coordinate the science fairs, spelling bees, and history day events.
In a statement she said “I am extremely grateful and honored to represent Banning Unified School District as the Teacher of the Year.”
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.