Wayne Knutson- Mira Costa High School Teacher of the Year
Mr. Knutson is a rock star teacher, but teaching wasn’t his first profession. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in African History from Princeton, Wayne embarked on a career as a musician for twelve years. To make ends meet, he also worked at a printing company, where the job was less than intellectually stimulating. Ultimately he went back to school at CSULB where he earned a graduate degree and obtained his teaching credential. Luckily for Manhattan Beach Unified, he was hired at Mira Costa, his home for the past 11 years.
Wayne admits that he blatantly steals what he can from other teachers and willingly shares his ideas as well. He endeavors to bring humor into the classroom on a daily basis, and on Fridays he plays music from the historical period they are studying. He constantly surprises his students with historical facts that challenge what they thought they knew about a person, event, or era in history.
This year Wayne was named Outstanding Teacher of American History by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and he led the Mira Costa Model United Nations team to its third consecutive National Championship. He demonstrated exceptional leadership while hosting the Los Angeles Invitational Model United Nations at Mira Costa for novice Model UN teams. Take all this away and it still remains that he is a superb teacher. His history classes are rich with engagement, dialogue, and connecting students to the stories and the culture of our nation's history. Whether it is blaring some Moody Blues or diving under desks for Atomic bomb drills, Mr. Knutson brings history to life, and kids love being in his class every day.