Truckee Elementary educator is fourth Teacher of the Year finalist |

Truckee Elementary educator is fourth Teacher of the Year finalist

Courtesy Michael Gelbman


The March 20 article spotlighting Teacher of the Year finalist Eric Harssema misstated that Harssema received an MA in Education from Sierra College. Harssema attended and received a MA in Education from Sierra Nevada College.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Erin Robb, fourth grade teacher at Truckee Elementary School, was selected as a Truckee Hometown SEARS-Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year finalist. Nominators described Robb as patient, understanding and thoughtful. Students have recognized Robb’s hard work and ability to teach effectively.

“I think Mrs. Robb should be teacher of the year because she teaches lots of things and everyone seems to pick it up very quickly,” wrote one student nominator.

Robb’s commitment to her students and student learning made her stand out among many qualified nominees. The selection committee praised Robb’s dedication to her students and their lifelong learning.

On March 27, Charlie Riley owner of Truckee Hometown SEARS, and Shelly Wright of Plumas Bank presented Robb with a finalist certificate. In addition, Robb received a $50 gift certificate to Truckee Hometown SEARS and a $50 gift certificate to Moody’s restaurant in Historic Downtown Truckee, courtesy of Plumas Bank.

Posted on the wall in Robb’s classroom, in large capital letters is the word METACOGNITION. Robb’s fourth-grade students can tell you what it means because Robb teaches them to “think about their thinking.”

Students in Robb’s class not only learn the fourth-grade curriculum, they also learn to be in charge of their own learning. She often asks them “what are you doing to be ready to learn?” Robb teaches students the lifelong skill of how they can take responsibility for their own learning, which is one reason why she has been selected as a Sierra Sun-Truckee Hometown Sears Teacher of the Year finalist.

Erin Robb, originally from the Bay Area, moved to Truckee when in her 20s. She earned a teaching credential from California State University Chico, and began working for Truckee Tahoe Unified School District in 1989. Robb holds a multiple subject teaching credential and a bilingual teaching credential.

Hired immediately after college to meet the district’s growing need for bilingual education, Robb first taught English Language Development at North Tahoe, before joining the staff at Truckee Elementary where she has taught 23 years.

At Truckee Elementary, Robb has taught bilingual second grade, first grade, and third grade and is currently teaching her fourth year of fourth grade. She enjoys working with children of all ages and is enthusiastic to be working with fourth graders now. Robb describes her students as capable, motivated and excited about learning.

“What motivates me is them,” said Robb. “To see them learn is exciting.”

Robb appreciates the insights and perspective of her students and encourages them to learn from each other. She uses teamwork in the classroom and strives to cultivate a noncompetitive environment. Students are encouraged to share their ideas and their mistakes so the group can learn from both. Robb balances providing structure and direction with flexibility to adapt to student needs and suggestions.

Truckee Elementary School Principal, Valerie Simpson, describes Robb as dedicated and passionate.

“Her genuine concern [for students] translates into highly effective lessons and high levels of student learning,” said Simpson.

Robb works hard to create a classroom environment conducive to learning. She establishes routines and clear expectations for her students. Students are taught metacognitive skills so that when they become distracted they can do a “self-check” and assume responsibility for their own learning. Her ability to foster an effective learning environment is apparent to students, parents and colleagues.

“(Robb) knows how to relate, teach, gain respect and totally captivate 9- and 10-year-olds, without EVER raising her voice,” wrote one parent nominator. “She is as cool as a cucumber, full of smiles, concerned for the students’ wellbeing, and extremely dedicated to spreading knowledge.”

Robb strives to maintain student interest by sharing the real life application for what students are learning. She tries to “keep it fresh,” give meaningful assignments, and help students see the purpose behind what they are learning.

“I don’t feel I do anything better than anyone else,” said Robb. “Every teacher I know is there for the kids, every teacher I know goes above and beyond required time and effort.”

Robb appreciates her fellow colleagues and is quick to say they are one of the reasons she has enjoyed working at Truckee Elementary School. Teachers at the school work in Professional Learning Committees (PLC) to plan and implement teaching strategies and curriculum.

“We have a great team in fourth grade and it helps all of the kids,” said Robb. “I love working with our PLC, working with them helps make the job doable.”

Principal Simpson praised Robb and the other members of the fourth grade PLC.

“(Robb) has been a positive contributing member of her fourth grade PLC, her efforts along with her fourth grade colleagues have resulted in a cohesive and focused instructional program for all fourth graders,” said Simpson.

Robb also enjoys working with the families she has come to know over years. Her initial work in bilingual classrooms led her to be involved with the Hispanic community and teach many children from the same families. Now having spent 23 years at Truckee Elementary she has even taught children of former students.

“I love working with all of the families,” said Robb. “It has been great being there that long and connected to so many different families.”

Robb continues to be excited and energetic about teaching. She works hard to bring positivity and energy to her classroom but credits her students with keeping her engaged.

“When they have a good attitude I get my energy from them,” said Robb. “I laugh a lot, it’s a nice environment, there is a lot of pressure and stress but it keeps your perspective fresh and young.”

Teacher of the Year sponsors, Truckee Hometown SEARS, the Sierra Sun and Plumas Bank, encourage community members, parents, and students to continue nominating teachers for the Truckee Hometown SEARS-Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year award. To recognize an outstanding local teacher please submit your nominations to or drop off at Truckee Hometown SEARS or the Plumas Bank Branches in Truckee, Tahoe City or Kings Beach.

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