CHS teacher Ryan Easton awarded 2023-24 Teacher of the Year


photo courtesy of Ryan Easton

Every year, Claremont Unified School District brings one teacher to the spotlight, whether it be from any one of the elementary schools, El Roble, Claremont High School, San Antonio High School, or Claremont Adult School. This year, CHS’s very own AP Economics, IB HOTA HL1, and US History teacher Ryan Easton was recognized as the CUSD 2023-24 Teacher of the Year.
“It’s very humbling to know that I was chosen because other teachers nominated me and that gets sent to a committee of other teachers [who have previously been recognized],” Easton said. “I think it says a lot about how your colleagues feel about you and how well you work with other teachers.”
According to the Board of Education, teachers who are nominated for this position have “exceptional skill and dedication to teaching, have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and co-workers, play active roles in their communities and schools, and […] have an impact that reaches beyond their classroom.”
“My biggest accomplishment for sure is hearing students majored in history or majored in economics,” Easton said. “Those are the types of things that really make a teacher’s day.”
Easton has been heavily involved in school-related business and has been an integral member of CHS’s staff ever since 2013. Even before then, he had graduated from CHS in 2002 and taught as a substitute in 2008. He has been the Social Sciences Department Chair for the past seven years and the voted chair of the Leadership Committee of all Department Chairs for the past three years. Before COVID, Easton worked on Special Assignment (working outside of the classroom on implementing the IB program and technology across campus), which proved him to be well-known around campus.
Prior to the moment it was announced, Easton had no idea that he had been selected by the group of former teachers of the year. Dr. O’Connor had asked him to attend the board meeting in honor to show support for Dr. Mitchell, who would be announced as CHS’s next principal. However, as soon as Kevin Ward, Assistant Superintendent of HR, announced that the 2023-24 Teacher of the Year had graduated in 2002, Easton knew that it was him.
“I was completely surprised and I was humbled,” Easton said. “Teaching since COVID has been tough. If I could, I would give the teacher of the year award to every teacher who has gone through COVID and continued to teach. I have to admit, the past three years since COVID has been really really tough. It feels really good to be recognized by my peers.”
Teaching is a notoriously difficult job, but Easton and his fellow teachers are doing their best working with students who have essentially lost two years because of the pandemic.
“Students, try to go out of your way to thank a teacher, especially since it’s teacher appreciation week,” Easton said. “I don’t think you guys realize how much it means to teachers. When you give a shoutout, it makes their day.”
When it was revealed that Easton was the teacher of the year, his family reacted perhaps even more than he did. “I think being recognized for this award means a lot to me,” Easton said. “But it means maybe even more to my wife or to my mom. I think my mom was calling all of my relatives and my wife was doing that humble brag on Facebook or Instagram.”
Knowing that teaching will remain with him until he is 62 often feels like a daunting task, but this award gives Easton motivation to keep going and further the great name he has made for himself at CHS. Easton would like to thank all of the people who have helped him get to this point.
“I’d like to give a shoutout to my wife and my three kids,” Easton said. “It’s always great to go home after a stressful day and they’re there. I’d like to give a shoutout to amazing students that make my job easy every day. I’d like to give a shoutout to the people who support teachers, like administration, and to all the teachers in Claremont Unified. I think they deserve this award as much as I do.”