L to R: Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent Cheryl Jordan and Teacher Kaila Schwartz
During her 17 years at Milpitas High School, Kaila Schwartz has walked the path of the educator, propelled by her love of teaching, theater, acting, and creativity. To her students, she has given her all, aligning them to their utmost potential, fostering within them strong communication skills, and nurturing their innate creative power.
It’s no wonder, then, that back in May, Schwartz was named Teacher of the Year by the Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD).
On Monday, August 13, the Milpitas Rotary Club hosted a luncheon celebration at Dave & Buster’s at the Great Mall to honor Schwartz’s achievements, before an audience of elected officials, community leaders, and rotarians.
“If you had told me 20 years ago that I’d be standing here today, I would have told you that you were crazy. I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Schwartz to the packed crowd. “Teaching was the furthest career path form my mind twenty years ago. I was an actor. I was a director. I was a stage manager. Which also meant I was waiting tables…”
Schwartz spoke of struggling to make ends meet, and of coming to grips with the fact that she simply wasn’t attaining any fulfillment from her current scenario.
“Transitioning to teaching was both exciting and scary,” said Schwartz. “Yet as I think back to those days, I realize that one experience I didn’t have was doubt. I never doubted that teaching was the right path for me. It’s not that theater wasn’t the right path. It’s that all I ever wanted was to make a difference. As an actor, I felt I wasn’t making a difference. I wasn’t fulfilling that deep need in myself. So here I am, feeling completely fulfilled by my work and my students, like Nicole.”
L to R: Spangler Teacher Nicole King and Superintendent Cheryl Jordan
Nicole King, who had been named Elementary School Teacher of the Year, was also being honored at the luncheon. King teaches third grade at Spangler Elementary School. When she was a student at Milpitas High School, she studied English with Schwartz.
This October, the Santa Clara County Office of Education will also be honoring Schwartz, along with 32 other district of the year educators, at a Teacher Recognition Celebration.
And the honors for Schwartz don’t stop there…
“We are very excited because Kaila is also one of three from the County of Santa Clara who is going to the state level for State Teacher of the Year,” announced Superintendent Cheryl Jordan.
At the Rotary luncheon, Schwartz received a certificate from the City of Milpitas, presented by Vice Mayor Marsha Grilli and Councilmember Bob Nuñez. She also received commendations from representatives from the offices of Board of Supervisor Dave Cortese and State Senator Bob Wieckowski.
L to R: Councilmember Bob Nuñez, Vice Mayor Marsha Grilli, and Kaila Schwartz
Along with Kaila Schwartz and Nicole King, two other Milpitas Unified School District employees were honored: Kelly Ng, Purchasing/Contracts/Bond Manager, as Classified Manager of the Year, and Giuliana Brahim, Principal of Milpitas Adult Education, as Certificated Manager of the Year.
Following the Rotary celebration, a plaque unveiling, with Kaila Schwartz’s name and photo, was held at The Milpitas Library.