Dodson Tapped as AUSD 2020 Teacher of the Year

Alameda Unified School District &nbsp&nbsp Maya Lin School teacher Brian Dodson advocates for student rights at an education rally. The school district named him the 2020 AUSD Teacher of the Year on June 16. He has taught for AUSD for eight years.

Dodson Tapped as AUSD 2020 Teacher of the Year

Maya Lin School second- and third-grade teacher Brian Dodson was named the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) 2020 Teacher of the Year.

The recognition was announced Wednesday, June 16. Dodson, has been a teacher with AUSD for eight years. He received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communication Studies from UC Davis and his teaching credential from California State University, East Bay. 

He completed his student teaching at Maya Lin School before being hired full time.

Dobson was quick to acknowledge his colleagues while accepting the award.

“This is as much a team award as it is an individual one because I would not be the teacher I am today without working alongside the incredibly talented and dedicated staff at Maya Lin,” said Dodson. “I’d like to thank my fellow teachers at Maya Lin for being an ongoing inspiration to me.”

He also expressed high praise for Maya Lin Principal Judy Goodwin. “She truly sees her teachers as artists and allows us time and space to develop as educators,” he said.

Goodwin said Dodson deserved the award for the way he interacts with his students. “Brian is masterful in implementing interventions to support the needs of all students,” she wrote in her recommendation letter. “He quickly identifies what motivates each child and incorporates opportunities for the student to be successful and engaged in instruction.

His peer teachers also felt the award was well deserved.

“Brian has incredible instincts about how to teach material and how to support children,” said Terry Eichel, a Kindergarten and first-grade teacher at Maya Lin. “He is especially talented in helping children feel noticed, accepted, and able to grow from their mistakes.” 

Dodson was also hailed by AUSD officials. “I’d like to congratulate Mr. Dodson for winning this honor and thank him for his service to the Maya Lin community of students, families, and staff,” said AUSD Board President Mia Bonta. “He is such an exemplar of the creativity, innovative spirit, and resilience of our AUSD educators, and we are so proud to have Mr. Dodson leading the way in the coming years.”

In addition to teaching second and third grade — students at Maya Lin School stay with the same teacher for two years — Dodson has taken numerous leadership positions at his school. He is a member of the Leadership/Alignment and Social Justice Equity committees; serves as the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support lead for the school; and volunteers as the staff representative to the Maya Lin PTA.

Dodson says being able to “creatively problem solve and collaborate with my colleagues to make sure I’m meeting the needs of my students,” is what he is most passionate about teaching. He also loves teaching because no day is ever like the one before. “Every day when I come to school there is a new challenge or a new puzzle to try to solve.”

Nominees for AUSD Teacher of the Year come from parents, students, staff and the community. After submitting materials (including a resume and letters of support), a selection committee selects three semifinalists and observes them in the classroom and then interviews them before making a final decision. The other semifinalists this year were Amy Frary, a core teacher at Lincoln Middle School; Kristin Furuichi-Fong, a Title 1 coordinator and reading interventionist at Ruby Bridges Elementary School; and Ana Soria-Kevy, a kindergarten teacher at Edison Elementary School.

Next fall, Dodson will compete to become Alameda County Teacher of the Year.

Last year, Encinal Junior and Senior High School science teacher, Pauline Stahl, Ed.D., was named AUSD Teacher of the Year. Stahl went on to be named Alameda County co-Teacher of the Year.