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Choral Music Educator is California Teacher of the Year

Location: California, USA
Manhattan Beach Unified School District’s Michael Hayden
Recognized as a California Teacher of the Year
Manhattan Beach, CA, November 5, 2013
Michael Hayden, the Director of Choirs for Mira Costa High School, was honored today by State
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson as one of five California Teachers of the Year. This latest
recognition follows earlier honors for Mr. Hayden as Manhattan Beach Unified School District Teacher of the
Year and one of sixteen Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year.
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District is extremely fortunate to have hired Mr. Hayden in 2007 as
Director of Choirs for Mira Costa High School. Prior to joining MBUSD, Mr. Hayden taught choral music at
both the high school and university levels, including serving as a faculty member at both Butler University and
Indiana Purdue University.
Michael Hayden sets extremely high expectations for all students and creates a classroom environment in
which they are comfortable taking risks and are supportive of one another. As a consequence, his students
master challenging music that is typically performed by collegiate choirs or professional vocal ensembles.
When asked about his profession, Mr. Hayden proudly states, “I teach students, and I use singing as my
vehicle.” He believes without hesitation that all students can learn to sing beautifully, regardless of talent and
As one of the five California Teachers of the Year, Mr. Hayden will participate in public forums and share his
insights regarding current issues and challenges that confront public education. He may also conduct
demonstration lessons and contribute to teacher recruitment efforts. On December 2nd, Mr. Hayden and the
other four California Teachers of the Year will meet with State Superintendent Torlakson and participate in a
full day of professional development in Sacramento. Additionally, on February 3, 2014, all California Teachers
of the Year will be honored at a luncheon in Sacramento.
When learning of Mr. Hayden’s selection as a California Teacher of the Year, Ida VanderPoorte, President of
the MBUSD Board of Trustees, remarked, “On behalf of my colleagues on the Board, we are incredibly proud
of Michael Hayden. Through his talent and tenacity, the Mira Costa Choirs have gained national and
international recognition for their excellence.” Under Mr. Hayden’s direction, the Mira Costa Choirs have
performed in Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and in Syros, Greece, as the only high school choir to
participate in the International Festival of the Aegean.
According to Dr. Michael Matthews, MBUSD Superintendent of Schools, “Michael Hayden personifies the very
best of both the art and science of teaching. He instinctively embeds all of the ‘Four Cs’ of an outstanding 21st
century education in his classroom on a daily basis: communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and
creativity. Students learn much more than correct vocal technique and how to read music; they learn
confidence, respect, reflection, and a lifelong passion for music.”
When reflecting on Mr. Hayden as an educator, Mira Costa Principal Dr. Ben Dale stated, “Michael Hayden
teaches with surgeon-like precision but has the heart of a giant. He demands excellence from his students,
but shows empathy and understanding during the process. Michael is clearly in charge, but year after year,
empowers emerging leaders through his collaborative teaching model. He presents a model of what we want
all teachers to be, know, and do.”
While Mr. Hayden is enjoying the accolades that accompany recognition as a California Teacher of the Year,
the feedback he cares about most comes from his students. Every year he asks each of them to write an
introspective piece about their experiences in choir. At the end of last year, one student shared, “Your
teaching has made me more confident in my singing and in myself as a person.” She added, “You always put
your all into your teaching. You care about your students and whether they really understand what you are
teaching. Perhaps most importantly, you always look like you are genuinely having a good time.”
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District Board of Trustees will honor Michael Hayden during the regular
Board Meeting on Wednesday, November 6th, at 6:30 p.m.
To view an excerpt of Mr. Hayden’s interview for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, log on to:
For more information about the California Teachers of the Year process, log on to:
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