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Two named county teachers of the year
September 20, 2012, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff

A Menlo-Atherton English teacher and a sixth grade teacher from Roosevelt were recognized yesterday as the 2013 San Mateo County Teachers of the Year.

Marei Kane, an English and English language development teacher at Menlo-Atherton High School was chosen as the 2013 San Mateo County Teacher of the Year for middle/high school category. Sarah Coyle, a sixth grade language arts and social studies teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School in the Redwood City, was selected as the 2013 San Mateo County Teacher of the Year for elementary education.

"Ms. Kane is remarkable for her many skills and talents, but in particular, for how she meets the needs of all learners, scaffolding rigorous and engaging lessons for students of all abilities. Her approach with differentiated instruction provides the necessary support for all her students to realize success,” County Superintendent Anne Campbell wrote in a press release.

Kane, who immigrated to the United States from Germany as a child, joined the M-A staff in 1998. Today, she teaches two very different groups of students both of whom challenge her. She has the pleasure of working with both the advanced placement English students and teens who are working to truly learn the language.

Kane said she went into teaching because she enjoys watching students learn.

"It’s an exciting thing,” she said.

Kane graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University in 1986, earning her bachelor’s degree in English literature. She followed that up with two single subject credentials, one in English and one in German. She has taught in the San Francisco Unified and Jefferson Elementary school districts before joining Sequoia Union.

Kane enjoys bringing a global perspective into her classroom. She also enjoys that M-A is a campus that represents a cross section of cultures and economic backgrounds. When not teaching, Kane enjoys traveling and hiking. The mother of an adult daughter, Kane is also teaching herself to play the guitar.

Coyle was also surprised to be honored. She thought it was a mistake for a full day, Coyle said with a laugh.

She joined teaching at the encouragement of the youngest of her two sons. At the time, Coyle was doing day care at home. He wanted to stop sharing toys and asked if Coyle could do her job outside their home. Teaching seemed like a logical step.

For Coyle, the biggest challenge is finding ways to connect with each child. This also happens to be what she enjoys most about her job. Sharing her own passions, Coyle said, seems to be one way to really get children invested.

"I don’t feel like I do anything different than what anyone else would do,” she said. "I love coming to work. I love my students. Who wouldn’t go above and beyond for them?”

To support the needs of struggling learners, Coyle established an after-school homework/tutoring club two days a week utilizing the talents of volunteers she trains herself. Students who participate in the tutoring club receive homework assistance and individual instruction as needed.

"Ms. Coyle is a committed professional whose high expectations for her students result in their buoyed confidence and measurable academic growth. Her enthusiasm and creativity combine to produce a fun and adventurous learning environment,” Campbell said.

Coyle holds her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the California State University at Hayward and a multi-subject credential and master’s in English from Notre Dame de Namur University. She began teaching at Roosevelt in 1999. Without the supportive environment at her school, Coyle said the work she does wouldn’t be possible.

Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.

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