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Teacher, Principal of Year Honored

The luncheon at the Riverside Convention Center honored teachers, administrators and school staff from across the county.

The Riverside County teacher and principal of the year were honored Tuesday by the Riverside County Office of Education at the Celebrating Educators Luncheon at the Riverside Convention Center.

Joseph Balleweg, the principal of , was named the Principal of the Year.

Melissa Casady, an English teacher also from Great Oak, was named the Teacher of the Year.

Balleweg joined Great Oak in 2007, but he served in education for 18 years, said Rick Peoples, spokesperson for the county’s Department of Education.

Balleweg became a junior high school reading and language arts teacher in 1993. He taught English at in 1999 and at Great Oak in 2004.

He became the assistant principal at Great Oak in 2006. He chaired the English Department at both Chaparral and Great Oak, according to Peoples.

Balleweg was named Teacher of the Year previously. He coached high school tennis and soccer and is a volunteer youth baseball coach.

Casady has been a teacher for nine years, starting at Chaparral starting at Chaparral.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from . She’s a master teacher in English, a beginning teacher mentor, a yearbook adviser and the co-department chair in English.

She has been the California Coastal Credit Union Teacher of the Month, a Crystal Apple nominee and the Renaissance Teacher of the Year in 2009.

Popeye May 14, 2011 at 11:40 PM
Is this public money?
Jane Grant May 15, 2011 at 04:38 PM
A great principal and a great teacher. My son had Melissa Cassidy and she was a really great teacher! The Temecula School District is a wonderful district with many dedicated hard working teachers. We are lucky to live here and reap the benefits of such top notch public schools. I have had my children in both Private and Public and actually chose to put my children in Temecula Public Schools. Both my boys graduated from Great Oak and I have nothing but good things to say about Great Oak High School!!!
TVOR May 16, 2011 at 03:04 AM
I'm sure this luncheon and awards were paid for with public money but I think it is well worth the small expense to recognize outstanding performers in our school system.
Popeye May 16, 2011 at 01:50 PM
If the public school system does not cut back on unnecessary functions, they are taking necessities from the public taxpayers children. Children should come first and the teachers, administrators, and unions should take 40 percent pay cut and remove the pension and replace 401k. Then we would have a better public school system. Public service should be voluntary not a career. You should not become a teacher unless you are 50 and above and experienced in the private sector.
Jane Grant May 16, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Obviously, Temecula are doing a great job. As a Real Estate Broker here in Temecula I can assure you that most of the homeowners that are moving to our area are doing so because our school ratings are so high. Highly rated schools bring families that care about education to Temecula and that is good for ALL Temecula Residents. Highly rated schools are the sign that a community is thriving and healthy. Temecula Valley Unified School District has many "California Distinguished Schools",which is difficult to attain and requires a long process and means that the school which obtains the designation of a "California Distinguished School", has excelled on many different levels. Let's just be happy that our schools here in Temecula are thriving and our children are being educated in one of the highest rated school districts in California. I'm very proud that Great Oak's Principal, Joseph Baleweg received this honorary award of being the Principal of the year out of all of the schools in Riverside County, and that Melissa Casady received Teacher of the year. Having these awards inspires other teachers to achieve to higher standards! I am in favor of awards and honoring our educators! Trying to fix the entire California State Educational System is not the point of this article....Let's just take a moment to be thankful that we have the type of educators that are worthy of winning awards and that the Temecula Valley Unified School District is as highly rated as it is!
blair waldorf May 17, 2011 at 05:14 AM
Interesting that both of these winners are from Great Oak High School. My experience with this school is that it is renegade run by renegades. They do what they want when they want. They let the press know what is going on based on a need to know basis. There are many things that go on inside the inner circle of the school that many parents are not aware of. There is cheating by students, gifts taken by administrators from students that are worth more than $100 a piece. In fact the skybox for graduation was not auctioned off this years as it has been in years past. Just quietly given to the families of students that have bought there way to the top. The parents should be asking many questions about the morality of this school. It does not operate under the unified district it is supposed to be part of. Decisions are made and as long as the one in charge deems it okay, it is done. Things are done quite differently at Great Oak than other schools in this district. Don't believe all that you read. Nothing is as good as it appears.
Jane Grant May 17, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Blair: Balleweg and Cassidy were not the only winners and here's the link to the Riverside County Of Education's website that shows them all: http://www.rcoe.k12.ca.us/newsroom/20110510_Celebrating_Educators.html I am sure your criticism is real from your point of view and I do realize that not everything is perfect. Some schools in districts within Riverside County, have much larger problems such as children stabbing each other with knives, pencils and other severe bullying that is really out of control. Great Oak High School is the became the highest performing High School in Riverside County. My personal and positive experience with Great Oak High School, where both of my sons recently graduated, has more to do with problem solving issues with my own children, with the help of their teachers. And I can attest to the fact that my boys got a great education and were educated by wonderful and dedicated teachers.

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