The Roseann Coonerty Layne Inspiring Teacher award was founded by the Coonerty Family in honor of Roseann Coonerty Layne, who taught in Santa Clara County for the better part of 33 years and in Santa Cruz County for nine years. Roseann Coonerty Layne’s aspirations to be a teacher started young, as she listened to her mother’s stories of teaching during the Coonerty’s nightly dinner conversations. Dazzled by her history teacher in college, Rosie knew she would teach History and American Government; she began teaching at 22. She was a great teacher – one of those brave ones who are willing to take on the challenge of awakening the minds of early teens and challenging them to achieve.
Good teaching demands that we hold students to high personal standards of expression and intellectual curiosity. The highest goal of teaching is in its art: the ability to light the fire in each and every student, igniting in them the courage to be themselves and open their minds and hearts to others, to share their ways of thinking with the world. Rosie understood and did this well. She worked hard, spending long hours teaching her students how to think, ask questions, do research and write clear, concise essays. Her family would barely see her for weeks at a time. She spent hours reviewing student essays, correcting each one and encouraging students to achieve their best.
Rosie came from a family of political obsessives and the Coonertys were often in the spotlight. However, she followed her mother’s path, seeing that the greatest opportunity to change the world was by lighting up young minds. She was a heroine of the highest order. Rosie’s quiet brilliance was known mostly by those she taught and by their parents. It was an excellence that focused on the child, first and foremost.
Roseann Coonerty Layne Inspiring Teacher Award Criteria
- Nominations are open to middle- or high-school teachers in Santa Cruz City Schools District who teach writing, history, social studies, government, civics or any other writing-intensive course.
- Nominators are encouraged to identify the unsung teacher, a teacher whose impact may not have been recognized outside the students and families she or he may have affected.
- Nominees should demonstrate the following attributes:
- An unwavering commitment to opening up the world to his or her students; putting the students’ needs, interests and abilities first; helping students realize their academic potential and new levels of self awareness.
- Motivating and encouraging students’ creative and critical thinking.
- Acting as an mentor to students, challenging and encouraging them to reach their goals.
- The honoree will receive a $250 gift from the Coonerty Family and friends of Roseann Coonerty Layne