Paula Merrick '76
Alum known for giving receives Teacher of the Year
Paula Merrick is known for pouring her energy into her students and happily sharing her extensive knowledge with colleagues.
This reputation has garnered Paula the Teacher of the Year award for the Solana Beach School District in San Diego County, California. Solana Beach School District Superintendent, Leslie Fausset, says, “I think Paula absolutely stands out because she is such a collaborative professional. She’s always willing to give, always willing to share.”##
Those traits were only two of the reasons Paula was recognized at the 36th Annual San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards Salute to Teachers, a black-tie, live-television event.
The experience to empower
Much of Paula’s knowledge comes from experience. The 1976 Redlands graduate has been a speech and language pathologist for more than 30 years and has worked in the Solana Beach School District since 1991. She worked at both Skyline and Solana Highlands before joining the staff at Solana Pacific.
Paula serves about 50 students who have been identified as needing speech services. Sometimes she works with students one-on-one, and other times alongside students within their regular classrooms. She also works closely with teachers to ensure that students receive instruction that not only meets their needs, but also is geared to their skill levels.
Paula says she views speech therapy as a way to empower children to live their best lives. “It’s giving kids the power to have control over their destiny,” she said.