Sal Tinajero

Harold C. Keller Public Service Leadership Award: 2016

Sal Tinajero, a Program Specialist for the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), has been named the 2017-2018 California Educator of the Year by the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA).

Tinajero was selected from more than 5,000 member coaches and teachers across the country because of his unwavering commitment to speech and debate education, and because his passion for speech and debate has enhanced the quality of education in California and beyond, according to NSDA.

“Speech and debate changes lives,” said NDSA Executive Director J. Scott Wunn. “Sal Tinajero has provided outstanding leadership in helping students improve their communication skills, build confidence, and increase critical thinking skills. All of these skills will better prepare students for college, a career, and a successful life after school.”

To be nominated for this prestigious award educators must coach and teach speech and debate, have a minimum of 5-years’ experience in the classroom, demonstrate broad contributions to the field of education, provide support and mentorship to the speech and debate community, and model the established NSDA Coach Code of Ethics.

“It’s an honor to receive the recognition,” said Tinajero. “My goal has always been to use this activity as a way to break the cycle of poverty in students. Speech and Debate is an incredible tool to help students gain confidence, vocabulary, and make connections in and out of the classroom.”

Each State Educator of the Year award winner will be considered for the 2017-2018 National Educator of the Year Award. The national award winner will be announced on National Speech and Debate Education Day on March 2, 2018.

“Here at the Santa Ana Unified School District, we work as a team to improve the students’ trajectory as they graduate and move onto college. So in essence, this award is recognition of what we do as a team here at SAUSD,” Tinajero said.