2004-2005 Sacramento County Teacher of the Year Asa Salley

Post John Bidwell

Asa was also selected as Sacramento County Teacher of the Year.

Seven years ago, Asa Salley began his teaching career at John Bidwell. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Multicultural Education.  Salley continues to share his knowledge with other educators by presenting at conferences, and was a guest lecturer at UC Davis on “closing the achievement gap.” “I try to take advantage of any opportunity to improve my teaching so I can give my students the very best of myself,” he said.

“Over the years, many of my teaching strategies have changed as I’ve taken advantage of professional development opportunities within the district and outside the district,” Salley said in his competition essay.  He also assumes leadership roles in his school including advisor for the Math, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) and the Bidwell Singing Team, and serves as a Grade Level Facilitator.  He believes all of these activities strengthen his abilities beyond the confines of the classroom.

He helped write a grant that secured Bidwell’s Healthy Start Program, and wrote a grant to secure art instruction for his class, which was funded for two years. Salley also applied and was accepted for a Fulbright-Hayes Scholarship to Ghana, West Africa.

Building relationships with students and families is an essential element of his teaching philosophy. “I truly believe that education is a partnership between the student, family and teacher.  I have always used home visits as a means of bridging the gap between home and school,” he emphasized.  As a dedicated teacher, Salley said that for him, home visits serve two important purposes – they establish a relationship with the students and families and compensate for the fact that he doesn’t live in the community where he teaches.

“I provide my families with my home phone number and e-mail address to let them know I am accessible to them at any time,” he added.
While his teaching strategies may have changed, he states that his educational philosophy surrounding teaching remains the same – that every single child is educable, deserves the very best education opportunities and that the foundation of good teaching is built on relationships with individual students and their families.