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Mrs. Theodora Douglas Named Banning Unified District's Teacher Of The Year! That Makes 3 NHHS Teachers In A Row!Go to top

Theodora Douglas

Congratulations are in order for New Horizons High School's Mrs. Theodora Douglas for being named Banning Unified School District's 2018 Teacher Of The Year.  Mrs. Douglas was first selected by her peers as New Horizons High School's Teacher Of The Year.  Then, after an interview with District Representatives, she was selected over all the other Teachers Of The Years from each BUSD site as District Teacher Of The Year.

Ms. Douglas

It should be noted that this is the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW that a New Horizons Teacher was selected as District Teacher Of The Year.  Pretty amazing!  Thank you Mrs. Douglas for sharing your many talents with the District.

A man standing between two large rocks
(Check out these incredible photographs Mrs. Douglas brought back to her science students from Point Loma, in San Diego, showing sedentary rock formations and natural erosion.)
A rocky beach     Colorful layers of rocks
A rocky beach

Back-2-Back District Teachers Of The YearGo to top

Mrs. Purcell
Mister W with his hand on his chin



Math Instructor Darlene Purcell and English/Drama Instructor James D. Waedekin were each honored as BUSD's "District Teacher Of The Year", bringing the honor home to New Horizons for the past two consecutive years!  

Mrs. Purcell was first selected by her New Horizon peers as "New Horizons 2016 Teacher Of The Year." Then, after a District Interview of all teachers selected by the other area school sites, comprised of representatives from the District and BTA, Mrs. Purcell was selected as "BUSD 2016 District Teacher Of The Year."  Clearly she was very deserving.Many are familiar with Mrs. Purcell's Advisory Class's Horizon Of Lights candle and soap business.  She brought Junior Achievement to New Horizons so students could study business entrepreneurship.  She also serves as Site Coordinator and Senior Adviser.  In addition, she organizes many exciting field trips and school activities including the College and Career Fair.

Through the same process, Mr. Waedekin was named as "BUSD 2017 Teacher Of The Year." In addition, Mr. Waedekin completed an application and composed essays and was named a Semi-Finalist for "Riverside County Teacher Of The Year."  In addition to teaching 9 thru 12 English, Mr. Waedekin is Coombs Alternative Education School yearbook advisor, and directs the Horizon Youth Theatre Project.  

Prior to being selected as Teachers of the Year, coincidentally, both were also honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States with their "National Citizenship Education Teacher Post Recognition Award" for promoting citizenship education in their classrooms and school. Please see the spotlights on each teacher below.

A Tribute To Mrs. PurcellGo to top

Post Commander Richard L. Day From Desert Edge Post 233 in Beaumont, CA, Wrote This Wonderful Tribute About Ms. Purcell:
Darlene Purcell is an extremely gifted professional.  Not only is she highly-educated and innovative, she is also a dedicated individual who takes pride in her chosen career path.  this pride is evidenced in her commitment to excellence as she is compassionate but firm in her student expectations and in her capacity to promote fairness while motivating students from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Even though Mrs. Purcell is a consummate professional, she leads a full life outside of her career.
Mrs. Purcell
For instance, Mrs. Purcell is a Marine Corps widow who continues to demonstrate her respect for our valued service personnel in her organization of programs that honor veterans.  She is a dedicated mother and grandmother.  An avid traveler, Mrs. Purcell has visited many global locations.  
Mrs. Purcell
Also, Mrs. Purcell has achieved academic success in a variety of settings. Mrs. Purcell's academic achievements include her earning her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Hunter College in New York while at the same time devoting herself as a military wife.  After the passing of her husband, she went on to gain her teaching credential at California State University, San Bernardino where she excelled in her ability to collaborate with fellow classmates not only as a participant but also as a leader.  After taking leave from the academic world to raise her family, Mrs. Purcell returned to the university to obtain her graduate degree, earning a MA in Teaching with an emphasis on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The discipline would prove to be a perfect option for Mrs. Purcell because she is bilingual, Spanish and English.
Mrs. Purcell
Mrs. Purcell's ultimate goal is to provide exceptional and sound mathematics instruction to a group of students who do not learn within the traditional model by marrying academic concepts with real life situations.  She is indeed broadening their horizons beyond math and even beyond their own expectations.  Mrs. Purcell is an effective leader whose investment in children will eventually reach farther than the community in which she serves.

Mr. "W" - Teacher & Author/PlaywrightGo to top

In addition to teaching high school English and Theatre, Mr. "W" is an award-winning playwright whose scripts and productions Blue Plains (The Story Of Georgia O’Keeffe, Canyon, Texas, 1918), Dream Book and Side Stream have been honored by Dramalogue, Los Angeles Cultural Affairs, Colorado Theatreworks 14th Annual Playwrights Forum, American College Theatre Festival and Writers’ Digest Magazine.   Notably, his play Blue Plains was one of five finalists for the National Repertory Theatre Foundation’s National Play Award. 

His work has appeared at UCLA, West Coast Theatre Ensemble, Theatre of Note and the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, the Chicago Playwrights Center, The Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia, and the Writers’ Theatre, Miranda Theatre Company, The Berkshire Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, and York Theatre in New York City, and the Edinburgh Theatre Festival in Scotland.

Waedekin’s musical Urban Myths (Music/Lyrics John Bucchino) was produced regionally at Stage One, in Wichita, and spotlighted nationally in New York City’s Barrymore Theatre at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Fall Festival. 

Mr. W

Lavender Girl, a one-act musical (Music/Lyrics John Bucchino) premiered at the Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia as part of the show 3HREE, conceived by Harold Prince.  3HREE won The Barrymore Award for Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical by The Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.  Produced by Center Theatre Group, 3HREE opened in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson Theatre. This production received 5 OVATION Award nominations (LA’s equivalent to New York’s TONYS.)  It was presented at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival by the Royal Academy of Drama and Music in Scotland.  The original cast album for 3HREE is available on DRG records.

His play Christmas in April was published by Eldridge Publishing, under the title The Invisible J. Michael Hess. To date it has had 22 productions nationwide.

Mr. W

His play Dream Book was presented at the Nashville Performing Arts Center, produced by Nashville Theatre Works, through the generous support of organizations including Equity Fights AIDS, with all proceeds supporting Nashville Cares.

His first children’s book, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Finkle was published in August of 2014, and is available on sites including Barnes& and

Mr. W

Waedekin earned a BFA in Journalism (Public Relations)/Theatre from the University of Oklahoma.  He earned his MFA in Playwriting from UCLA. He earned his secondary teaching Clear CLAD Credential in English/Drama Instruction from Loyola Marymount University. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild.