Meet Tracy Waters, a 4th-grade teacher at Starlight Elementary in Beaumont, California, and the 2020 Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) Teacher of the Year. Tracy is a 2012 graduate of the CBU Online and Professional Studies, Master of Science in Educational Leadership program. While at CBU, Tracy credits her professors for guiding and mentoring her in becoming a servant leader and learning how to implement a Biblical worldview into teaching and educational leadership


Growing up on a farm gave her a strong foundation of hard work, responsibility, and perseverance. Lessons she passes on to her students and other teachers she mentors. She was nominated for this award because of her “service above self” perspective. She involves her students in service projects like clothing drives, canned food drives, trash clean up, purchasing supplies for students in Africa, and more! She shows her students how they can make an impact on their community and the world. “She sees the possibility and the potential in every single student,” said Todd Oldenburg, parent of a student.


Tracy feels that public education is a sort of mission field in itself and the Lord has placed her in her role as an educator to be able to bring Jesus to those that need Him. She is living her purpose by encouraging, loving, inspiring, and teaching each child that crosses her path and helping them find and share their gifts—their purpose—with the world. Tracy says, “It is both a joy and an honor that He has chosen me to serve Him in this way.”


This past year, like many teachers, Tracy has had to look to technology more than ever before to navigate teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has tried to build relationships and engagement with her students and their families through phone calls, snail mail surprises, home visits to drop off and pick up materials, and making sure to have fun while online with dance parties and games. She has taken on the task to virtually build upon her teaching philosophy that through creativity, variety, and choice students are able to find their true potential and that every student plays a unique part in the orchestra of the learning experience.


Tracy and her husband Pat have two children. Owen is 13 and an eighth-grader and Jenna, 19, is a Liberal Studies major at CBU. They are heavily involved in their church, leading Home Fellowship for the past 15 years. They also enjoy camping, the beach, and any excuse to hang out with family and friends


Learn more about Tracy and her award in this video from RCOE: