Daniel Jocz, who teaches at Downtown Magnets High School and is a 2016 California Teacher of the Year, has been selected as one of four finalists nationwide for the 2016 National Teacher of the Year award. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the selection this week.
“Daniel is a dedicated, passionate, and innovative educator who incorporates popular culture and music in the teaching of history and social studies in a way that engages his students, and makes the subjects more accessible while still being rigorous,” Torlakson said in making the announcement. “I am so pleased that Daniel is a finalist for this award. He is clearly one of the best teachers in the country.”
In October, Jocz was named one of five California Teachers of the Year and selected as a finalist by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the United States.
He and three other state Teachers of the Year from Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Washington were chosen by a panel comprising 15 prominent education organizations and representing more than seven million educators.
Jocz has been an educator for 11 years, all of them at Downtown Magnets High School in Los Angeles Unified, where he serves as department chair and teaches social studies including AP U.S. History (APUSH), World History, and Leadership. Through his YouTube channel, Jocz Productions, Jocz specializes in APUSH review materials and incorporates popular culture and music into his lessons to create a challenging curriculum that engages his students.
Jocz graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and has a Master of Arts in Education and a Clear Single Subject Teaching Credential from the University of California, Los Angeles. His master’s thesis was entitled “Culturally Responsive Education: No Culture Left Behind.”
For more information on the National Teacher of the Year program, visit the CCSSO Web site at http://www.ccsso.org/ntoy.html.