By Nancy Gutierrez
When Shivon Lavely started teaching she decided she wanted to give her students new experiences.
She convinced a friend of hers who was a pilot to give her kindergartners rides on an airplane.
She said that, looking back, she realizes what a liability that could have been. However, she still believes in giving her students new things to experience and learn about.
That is why Lavely, a first- grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, was chosen as the Exeter Union School District Teacher of the Quarter.
"Shivon Lavely works hard to create a rich learning environment," said Dean Sutton, EUSD board president. "She asks questions that require students to really think."
Lavely has had 22 years in education. She taught for 16 years in the Lindsay Unified School District then moved to Exeter where she has taught for six years.
"I have always taught either kindergarten or first grade because I love the enthusiasm and open hearts of young children," Lavely said. "It is a thrill to watch them learn new things."
In addition to the free airplane rides Lavely has also taken kindergartners on overnight trips to SCICON, had overnight pajama parties in her classroom and visited Japan on a teacher exchange program.
Lavely has left an impression on many of her former students and said she has often received high school graduation invitations from former kindergarten and first-grade students.
"What matters most over the years is the relationships I've built with my students and their families," she said.
Lavely said her family, friends and teaching are her great passions but she also enjoys traveling, learning about different cultures and meeting new people.
She is married to Mike Law and has two sons, Keenan and Alex.
"I feel honored to receive the award," Lavely said. "I feel like all of the teachers at Lincoln deserve it. They are a dedicated staff that I am lucky to be a part of."
When Exeter Union High School District board member Bob Todd presented Kevin Lurz with the award for Teacher of the Quarter he admitted to those in attendance that Lurz' dad had been his high school science teacher.
"If you are half the teacher your dad was our kids are in good hands," Todd said.
Todd added that Lurz' rapport with staff and students is exceptional and his commitment to the district is evident. Lurz was a member of the WASC team for EUSD accreditation, a task that is very time consuming and tedious.
Lurz graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor's in history and hopes to continue his study of modern Asia in a graduate program. Lurz first taught English in a small university in southwest China as part of a cultural exchange program.
"Teaching at Kaweah High School has been a real privilege for me," said Lurz. "I work with an outstanding staff that has been a great source of support and inspiration."
Another source of support comes from Lurz' family. He is married to Johanna and is the son of Pam and Dwayne. He has one brother Tim and sister Becky Honig.
In his free time Lurz is also a member of a local band, The Molly Maguires. He said the group has just finished recording their own EP.