A music teacher from Painted Hills Middle School in Desert Hot Springs was named one of the state’s top teachers Wednesday by California education officials.
Brian McDaniel, who has taught instrumental and vocal music at Painted Hills for the past two years, is one of five educators recognized by the California Department of Education as a 2018 California Teacher of the Year.
McDaniel will also be honored at a gala next February in Sacramento, and later will compete against other state nominees for the 2018 National Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced in the spring.
“These teachers are deeply committed, hard working and creative,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “They help students find their inner strengths and achieve their dreams, while inspiring,challenging, and supporting them every day. They represent the best of their profession.”
In addition to teaching at Painted Hills, McDaniel serves as the director of bands and choirs at Desert Hot Springs’ Bella Vista Elementary School and is an adjunct professor at Brandman University, School of Arts and Sciences.
In a joint statement from students Brandon Ulin, band president, and Kathryne Whalen, choir president, the students said, “He is our role model, friend and champion … he understands many of our issues because they were once his. He helps us with our family issues, insecurities, bullying and always finds a way to make us feel better.”
McDaniel was also recently named one of Riverside County’s teachers of the year and was honored by the Palm Springs Unified School District with a billboard along Palm Drive, south of Dillon Road, which also featured fellow county teacher of the year Michelle Beyronneau, a Desert Hot Springs High School math teacher.
Also among the county’s teachers of the year are Edwin Detoya, who teaches robotics at Bobby Duke Middle School in Coachella and Martha Rodriguez, a sixth-grade teacher at Sunnyslope Elementary School in Jurupa Valley.