Two Newport-Mesa educators learned they were named teachers of year when they received a surprise classroom visit Monday from school officials and family members.
Costa Mesa High School's Dana Kahawai, 30, and Newport Elementary School's Terri Clarke, 31, received balloons, flowers and accolades upon learning that they were chosen for the districtwide honor.
Kahawai has taught English at Costa Mesa High for the last four years and spent one year at Estancia High School. She currently teaches regular and Advanced Placement (AP) English classes for sophomores, and AP English literature for seniors.
Kahawai was sitting in her classroom during her prep period when her parents, principal and district officials arrived to tell her the good news, said school board member Katrina Foley, who was part of the surprise party.
Kahawai, a Santa Ana resident, had seen the officials and her parents moments earlier while walking from the front office. She said she had some inkling it could be about the award.