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Fran Mastroianni M.A. ’09, a fourth-grade teacher at Blossom Hill Elementary School in Los Gatos, was selected as the 2011 Teacher of the Year for the Los Gatos Union School District for her dedication to students, classroom skill, and commitment to lifelong learning. Born and raised in New Jersey, Mastroianni moved to California in 1987. She has a degree in special education from Trenton State College, a California teaching credential from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in education administration from Santa Clara University. She has also been a special education teacher and a substitute teacher. She’s taught at Blossom Hill since 2001. Mastroianni said she has special experiences every day while working with her “fabulous fourth-grade teammates” and with an “amazing and inspirational principal” at Blossom Hill. She said that she knew she was making a difference when one of her former students went back to Blossom Hill to thank her for teaching him to stay organized and for challenging him with high expectations. “Being a part of the Los Gatos Elementary School District community is an honor," said Mastroianni. Joe Bloin, a fellow fourth-grade teacher who wrote the nomination letter for Mastroianni, said, “Fran shows all the traits that make us proud to be teachers. She is collegial, caring, professional, involved in the community, creative and passionate about student success.” Bolin said that “Fran has a real empathy for those students who are most difficult to teach. Her involvement on a personal level makes a real difference in the lives of these children.” Bolin added that in addition to being a wonderful teacher, Mastroianni is president of the Los Gatos Elementary Teachers Association and has put in countless hours this year working to ensure that teachers in Los Gatos get a voice in decisions made by the administration. She attends monthly school board meetings and meets frequently with administrators, he said.