'Nobody more deserving': New Berlin West educator honored with Wisconsin Teacher of the Year award
NEW BERLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Education turned into celebration Monday, May 1 at New Berlin West Middle/High School as Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly surprised Saghar Homayounpour with the honor of Wisconsin Teacher of the Year.
"I get to name five teachers of the year throughout the state of Wisconsin. Only five, out of the entire pool, out of the entire state," Underly explained.
A computer sciences teacher, Homayounpour immigrated to North American from Iran in 2011. She received an education license in Canada and was then hired to work at New Berlin West as teaching assistant in 2015. Eight years later, she was grateful and honored to be receiving this statewide award.
"I am humbled. I am very grateful for all the acknowledgements around me," Homayounpour said. "I think a lot of teachers deserve the same recognition. It's not just me."
Joe Garza, the superintendent for the School District of New Berlin, says it wasn't a surprise for him to learn Homayounpour was selected, calling it a well-deserved honor.
"There's certainly nobody more deserving of this award," Garza said. "Having a Wisconsin Teacher of the Year is an incredible honor, not only for Saghar and New Berlin West, but for the entire district and the New Berlin community as well."
Homayounpour was surprised by her family, who made the trip from California to be a part of the exciting announcement. After being surprised in her classroom, she was escorted around the school in a 'Hallway Parade' where she received claps and cheers from students and fellow educators.
"Saghar is very well-known for saying, 'You're going to struggle. You're going to struggle with this content. You're going to struggle with this; I am here to support you and we can do it,'" said New Berlin West principal Michael Fesenmaier. "She's very relatable, she's very intelligent and she has worked tremendously hard to build the program that she has built here."
Homayounpour says she's hopeful to use her classroom to not only help students learn more about computers, but learn skills that will help them be successful in life.
"What I teach them is not how to write code. I teach them how to learn how to solve problems, be team players, work well with each other which are the basic skills in this digital world," Homayounpour said. "It helps them to be successful in life."
She's grateful to her students and the district for allowing her to pursue her passion.
"Thank you, Wisconsin, for giving me the job, the chance to work in a career that I always longed for," Homayounpour said. "I will do anything in my power to support the students and help them to reach their goals the same way I reached my goal."