Teacher of the Year Product of ROP

Hesperia Unified School District

For Hesperia Unified’s ROP Coordinator Kim Walker, it’s pretty sweet to have one of your ROP teachers receive the Teacher of the Year Award. Sweeter yet, is when that teacher actually got her start in ROP.

County Schools 2013 Teacher of the Year, Susan Dahn, has taught ROP Registered Dental Assisting in Hesperia for 18 years. She originally began to pursue her career as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) during her junior year of high school when she enrolled in ROP. When she completed the course, she was immediately hired by her training site.

Early in her career she helped other student interns, sharing her knowledge and love of dentistry. She loved training them and sharing in their success. After having worked in the industry she loves for 15 years, Ms. Dahn heard from a friend about a teaching position at the local high school. “I immediately recognized this as an opportunity to come full circle,” said Dahn.

As the recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award, Ms. Dahn is appreciative of the recognition, but says her true reward is seeing her students achieving success. Of course not all of her students will become registered dental assistants (RDA) or will work within the industry. Some of the students take the class and realize dentistry just isn’t for them. According to Ms. Dahn “You either love teeth or you don’t. It’s not for everyone.” Love teeth or not, she recognizes the value in every student and helps them realize their potential and prepares them for life beyond the classroom.

I asked her students what makes her a special teacher. Corey Harris, who upon graduation plans to work as an RDA while continuing her education to become a dental hygienist, said “Ms. Dahn is not like any teacher I’ve ever had. She truly cares about us.” Virginia Del Valle, who also plans on becoming a dental hygienist, adds “She breaks everything down for us…and questions are encouraged!” Judging by how quickly hands went up when I asked for volunteers for this interview, the admiration and appreciation is unanimous.

Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It doesn’t take more than a few minutes observing Ms. Dahn in the classroom to understand that this truly isn’t work for her.

Congratulations to Mrs. Dahn on her recognition as a San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Teacher of the Year!