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Hayden to Receive Recognition as California Teacher of the Year

The Manhattan Beach City Council will honor Mira Costa High School's Michael Hayden for his accomplishment.

California Teacher of the Year Michael Hayden is honored by Ida VanderPoorte, then school board president, and Rick Bagley, district administrator, at a November school board meeting.
California Teacher of the Year Michael Hayden is honored by Ida VanderPoorte, then school board president, and Rick Bagley, district administrator, at a November school board meeting.

Michael Hayden, the Mira Costa High School director of choirs who was one of five people named a California Teacher of the Year by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in November, will receive a commendation from the City of Manhattan Beach Tuesday at the City Council meeting.

The commendation will be awarded shortly after the Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers, 1400 Highland Ave., during the ceremonial calendar portion of the agenda. 

Hayden was recognized for the distinguished honor by the Manhattan Beach Unified School District Board of Trustees and district administrators, faculty members, students and community members at a Nov. board meeting.

Hayden was previously announced as the Manhattan Beach Unified School District Teacher of the Year and one of 16 individuals named a Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year.

“On behalf of my colleagues on the board, we are incredibly proud of Michael Hayden," said then Board President Ida VanderPoorte. "Through his talent and tenacity, the Mira Costa Choirs have gained national and international recognition for their excellence.” 

With Hayden at the helm, the Mira Costa Choirs have performed in Carnegie Hall, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and in Syros, Greece, as the only high school choir to participate in the International Festival of the Aegean, said a district official.

Hayden joined the school district in 2007 as director of choirs at the high school. He previously taught choral music at high school and university levels, and was a faculty member at Butler University and Indiana Purdue University.

Hayden's students are perhaps his greatest champions. Wrote one during year-end feedback in which he asks each of them to write an introspective piece about their experiences in choir: “Your teaching has made me more confident in my singing and in myself as a person. You always put your all into your teaching. You care about your students and whether they really understand what you are teaching. Perhaps most importantly, you always look like you are genuinely having a good time.”

According to district administrators, Hayden sets extremely high expectations for all students and creates a classroom environment in which they are comfortable taking risks and are supportive of one another. As a consequence, his students master challenging music that is typically performed by collegiate choirs or professional vocal ensembles. 

“Michael Hayden personifies the very best of both the art and science of teaching," said Dr. Michael Matthews, school district superintendent. "He instinctively embeds all of the ‘Four Cs’ of an outstanding 21st century education in his classroom on a daily basis: communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. Students learn much more than correct vocal technique and how to read music; they learn confidence, respect, reflection and a lifelong passion for music.”

As a California Teacher of the Year, Hayden will participate in public forums and share his insights on current issues and challenges confronting public education. 

He will join the other California Teachers of the Year at an honorary luncheon in Sacramento on Feb. 3, 2014.

The Manhattan Beach City Council meeting will be broadcast live on select TV channels and the Internet. Channel 8 (Time Warner) and Channel 35 (Verizon) broadcast the live meeting and rebroadcast them at noon and 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday following the Tuesday meeting. The live webcast can be seen by clicking here.

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