POMONA, Calif. – The Pomona Unified School District has launched a full-day kindergarten program at 15 of its elementary school sites, with plans to expand the service to several more schools next year.

The Pomona Unified School District has recognized Madison Elementary School teacher Monica Whisenhunt as the 2014-15 Teacher of the Year for PUSD.

Whisenhunt – who has taught grades 3 to 6 throughout her 12-year teaching career at Madison Elementary – will be honored for the achievement at the Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year Announcement and Awards Luncheon on Friday, Sept. 19.

“Monica grew up surrounded by educators, following in her mother’s footsteps, so it’s no surprise that she has come to be one of the best teachers we have in the District,” said Board of Education President Frank Guzman. “I want to congratulate Monica for the excellent work she has done to make a difference in the lives of our students in the Pomona Unified community.”

Whisenhunt was nominated by her colleagues at the school and other teachers in the District. She was selected for the accolade by the Associated Pomona Teachers and the Pomona Unified School District.

“While I’m surprised that I was selected out of the hundreds of talented teachers we have in the district, it’s really nice to be acknowledged and recognized for working hard and being a dedicated teacher to my students,” she said.

Whisenhunt said she was inspired to become an educator after seeing her mother, a teacher at a continuation school, get stopped by former students to express their gratitude for what a positive influence she had been in their lives.

“It was obvious that my mother had made an impact on their lives through her kindness and dedication as a teacher,” she said. “Growing up with teachers, I would see the constant sacrifice and endless hard work they did to ensure success for their students.”

Last year, Whisenhunt partnered with Cambridge Education and immersed herself in the Common Core and best practices, and has served on several committees to learn and prepare for the changing dynamics of education. “Although being a teacher has many challenges, I believe in my students’ potential, and it is always my goal to provide learning opportunities that will motivate and encourage them to be high achievers,” she said.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Whisenhunt also serves as an executive board member with APT.

“Monica is a prime example of the committed teachers we have at Pomona Unified,” said Superintendent Richard Martinez. “Just like her mother, I know Monica will have a positive influence on her students’ lives.”