First 2013-14 Teacher of the Year finalist selected |

First 2013-14 Teacher of the Year finalist selected

Charles Riley and Michael Gelbman present Teacher of the Year candidate Dave Goggin with a finalist award certificate and gifts from program sponsors.
Courtesy Carolyn O’Connor |

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Tahoe Lake Elementary teacher Dave Goggin has been selected as the first Truckee Hometown SEARS — Sierra Sun/Bonanza Teacher of the Year finalist for 2013-2014.

Goggin was praised for his passion and engaging teaching style.

Tahoe Lake Elementary principal Stephanie Foucek described Goggin as an “exceptionally student-centered teacher.”

“He excels at fostering the individual academic strengths in each student, as well as each student’s growth as individuals,” said Foucek.

On Jan. 7, Charles Riley, owner of Truckee Hometown SEARS, and Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza presented Goggin with a finalist award certificate and gifts from program sponsors.

Dave Goggin started his career in business working as a consultant with Ritchie and Associates and later heading the Credit Authorization Service Center for a branch of the JC Penney Co.

In the 80s and 90s, while partner in a stock brokerage business, his teacher clients would often tell him he would make a good teacher. After selling his business and moving to Tahoe with his wife, he decided to see if his clients were right and start a second career as a teacher.


Goggin completed his teaching credential at California State University Chico in 2000 and began work as a substitute teacher in the Tahoe area.

He worked several years as a temporary teacher before obtaining a permanent position in 2004. Since then he has taught third, fourth and fifth grade. He currently teaches fourth grade at Tahoe Lake Elementary.

Like most new teachers, it took Goggin some time to find his own teaching style and develop his philosophy. He credits the great teachers and aides at Tahoe Lake Elementary, like Toni Rockwell, Danny Bollier, Vicki Brown, Jim Bodenhmmer, Lisa Melin, Vicky Edelstein, Deed Verutti and Laura Walton, for believing in him and encouraging his professional growth.

Early in his career, Goggin received some critical advice as he struggled to mimic his mentor teachers and avoid any mistakes. Former principal Dave Hyde reminded Goggin he was not hired to be like other teachers, he was hired to be himself. This advice stuck with Goggin, and gives him confidence each day to teach from his heart.

Parent nominators recognized Goggin’s dedication to students and have noticed he teaches from his heart.

“He is an extremely engaged teacher [and] has a passion for teaching,” wrote one parent nominator.

“Not to disregard the work of previous teachers, but our daughter seems to be blossoming under Mr. Goggin’s leadership,” wrote another parent.

Clearly, Goggin is thriving as an educator and enjoys the values found in the teaching profession.


“Teaching is unlike anything I have done in business,” said Goggin. “Businesses reject their raw inventory when it isn’t up to their standard, public schools would never tolerate such practices; students are met where they are and every single educator they contact does everything they can to improve [student] outcome.”

Goggin is an educator who adheres to this model and strives to meet all of his students’ needs.

“Mr. Goggin is highly engaging and motivating,” said Foucek. “His commitment to his students’ achievement and well-being, as well as his pursuit of innovative instruction makes him stand out.”

Goggin motivates his students is by engaging them with classical literature. While his young students may not fully comprehend their readings, Goggin finds students make deeper connections with the classics.

Additionally, he provides students opportunities to research topics that interest them instead of assigning traditional homework. Students share their extra credit research and in turn inspire each other to do extra work.

Goggin’s goal is to continue improving his craft and challenging his students. He wants to present students with difficult problems that encourage them to collaborate and think deeply. Goggin tries to push students to the point where they want to quit, so that they will experience overcoming their frustrations and solving “big” problems like the ones they will certainly face as leaders in the future.

To nominate your teacher for the Truckee Hometown SEARS-Sierra Sun/Bonanza Teacher of the Year award email or take nominations to the Truckee Hometown SEARS store at 12047 Donner Pass Road.

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