Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

During the past 13 summers, former competitive swimmer Laura Zellmer has served as a lifeguard instructor with the Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards. Many of these graduates become full-time lifeguards in the City of Huntington Beach where nearly 13 million beach-goers visit the 8-mile beach in Southern California where nearly 4,000 annual rescues were made.

But it is during the school year when the science and environmental science teacher at the Ethel Dwyer Middle School in Huntington Beach, California excels by filling her young students with wonder, possibilities and marine science facts.

The popular and highly respected UCLA graduate, flanked by Sydney and Sofia Munatones, was recently honored as the 2018 Orange County Teacher of the Year.

Zellmer began teaching at Dwyer Middle School in 2010 and considers her role as an entertainer, a coach, a salesperson and a motivator. She created the school’s first environmental science elective course and established partnerships with the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy and One Ocean Diving to provide students with experiences on how human activities can affect nature.

She also regularly organizes student trips to Catalina Island and Yosemite National Park. “I love my job and I love my students,” Zellmer said upon receiving her honor.

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