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Maria Capdevila Selected as Glendale Unified Teacher of the Year

Posted Date: 04/04/2024

Maria Capdevila Selected as Glendale Unified Teacher of the Year


GLENDALE, CA – Toll Middle School Spanish dual language immersion teacher Maria Capdevila has been selected as Glendale Unified School District’s 2024 Teacher of the Year. Dr. Capdevila will represent the district at this year’s Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year competition.

Dr. Capdevila has been an educator in GUSD for 12 years. In addition to being an exceptional teacher, she has demonstrated influence beyond the classroom as a leader in Toll Middle School’s World Language Department and GUSD’s districtwide dual language immersion programs.

“Dr. Capdevila is a passionate educator known for her tireless dedication to her students and our entire Toll Middle School community,” said GUSD Board of Education President Jennifer Freemon. “Her deep love of language learning and commitment to her students truly shine.”

“Dr. Capdevila creates a student-centered classroom environment where every child actively engages in learning,” said GUSD Superintendent Dr. Darneika Watson. “Every day, she goes above and beyond to share her passion for world languages and cultures and find meaningful ways to connect with every child in her classroom.”

“Maria is a tireless advocate for her students. She teaches with her full heart and an accompanying high standard for learning,” said Toll Middle School Principal Jennifer DeLadurantey. “Her work as our Spanish dual immersion teacher is a model for language acquisition for all of her colleagues at Toll and districtwide.”

Each year, GUSD selects one outstanding educator to advance to the Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year competition. Administrators and educators submit nominees from across the district. Selections typically alternate between teachers at the elementary and secondary levels. GUSD is proud to celebrate all of our 2024 Teacher of the Year finalists. 

Glendale Unified Teacher of the Year Finalists

Joseph Benkovich, Glendale High School

With a student-centered approach, history/social science teacher Joseph Benkovich goes beyond the realms of traditional teaching by developing authentic connections with each one of his students. Known for his rigorous yet engaging curriculum, Mr. Benkovich's class serves as a place where students feel a sense of success and achievement. His dedication to cultivating a classroom environment where students actively participate and critically analyze concepts sets him apart as an exemplary educator. 

Alison Curtiss, Verdugo Academy

A dedicated independent study educator, Mrs. Curtiss has committed 17 of her 31 years in education to teaching students at Verdugo Academy, GUSD’s K-12 independent study program. As Verdugo Academy’s lead teacher, Mrs. Curtiss supports students and their families throughout their educational journeys and provides professional development for educators in an independent study setting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs. Curtiss was instrumental in the implementation of GUSD’s robust distance learning opportunities which provided valuable support for students and families.

Jeenie Lee, Rosemont Middle School

Rosemont math teacher Jeenie Lee is an exceptional educator who differentiates instruction to reach her diverse student population, including English learners and students with special needs. Her classroom vibrates with energy as students listen to instructions, stop to share with a partner, engage in group work, and solve problems. Known for her calm, steady, and positive demeanor, Ms. Lee makes personal connections with every student as she walks the room, monitoring their progress and checking for understanding.

Joan Nam, Wilson Middle School

Joan Nam has an unparalleled passion for teaching math. She engages her students by connecting math to real-world situations. A veteran educator, Ms. Nam has been a math teacher at Wilson Middle School for 31 years. She also serves as the math department chair and oversees the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program. Her enthusiasm for her subject matter is contagious, and her dedication to student success is evident in everything she does. 

For further information, please contact Kristine Nam at (818) 241-3111 x1218 or