LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Delrene Tschida

Position: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher
School: El Dorado County Office of Education
School District: El Dorado County Office of Education
City, State: Placerville, CA

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Delrene Tschida was nominated by her spouse, Paul Tschida.

Mrs. Tschida has spent her life fighting to improve the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Her mission is personal—both her parents are deaf, and American Sign Language is her first language. Growing up, she learned first-hand the daily struggles deaf people face in society. But that’s only part of the picture. The other, more vital parts are her innate gift for teaching and passion for helping people.

Most of Mrs. Tschida's career has been spent in deaf classrooms, where she helped students of various grade levels learn and thrive in a hearing society. While her impact was strongly positive, it’s the position she’s held the last few years that has allowed her to truly amplify her impact. She is now the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (“DHH”) teacher for El Dorado County, California, a diverse place that encompasses Lake Tahoe, the outlying suburbs of Sacramento, and the mountains and forests of the Sierra Nevada in between.

As an itinerant teacher, she constantly travels to schools throughout the county to ensure DHH students in mainstream (hearing) classrooms are receiving the services they deserve, and to fight for those services if necessary. She does an awful lot of fighting, and even conducts home visits for children from newborn to age five. There is significantly less awareness of DHH needs in general society than in the deaf schools where she used to work, so a huge part of her job involves educating parents and teachers. Through her own life experiences, she helps them understand that hearing loss is not a catastrophe, and that DHH individuals can live lives just as rich and rewarding as anyone else.

It was not always like this in El Dorado County. Prior to Mrs. Tschida’s arrival, the position had been vacant for some time. She immediately went to work establishing processes, developing curriculum, and cultivating relationships with the aid of her friendly and caring personality. If that weren't challenge enough, her caseload has literally doubled since her arrival three years ago,. Through it all, Mrs. Tschida has made students her first priority, refusing shortcuts and remaining tactfully steadfast in her pursuit of the best possible education for them. As a matter of fact, her successes were recently recognized through an “Award for Outstanding Service” from the El Dorado County SELPA, the public entity responsible for special education service delivery.

"As Delrene’s husband, I may be biased, but don’t take my word for it. Ask anyone who works with her and you’ll hear how she's improved and enriched the community," said Mr. Tschida. "Her students are undergoing rapid academic and social growth due to her nurturing advocacy. Teachers are better equipped to educate their DHH students with the collaborative support she provides. Administrators can boast about the quality of their county’s DHH services thanks to her expertise and dogged persistence. Most importantly, her students are empowered on a daily basis to be proud of themselves and to advocate for their own future."

Comments (17)

Mimi Nelson Posted 12 months ago

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with Delrene this school year. It is a joy to be able to work with someone who is so positive and passionate about what she does. I appreciate her willingness to share ideas on how I can support my students in the classroom.

Tracie Whitney Posted over a year ago

For the last two years I have worked as Delrene's assistant at EDCOE. Delrene's passion, work ethic and desire to make a difference impress me on a daily basis. Daily she strives to ensure our counties DHH students needs are met and to educate school staff and student peers. I always say that EDCOE hit the jackpot when they hired Delrene because she puts her heart and soul into what she does for our students.

Becca Posted over a year ago

I continue to be impressed with Delrene’s unwavering commitment to our students’ success. I truly appreciate her openness and willingness to work with each and every student to meet their individualized needs. She is a talented DHH teacher and an invaluable resource to our team. Our county needs more dedicated individuals in this field!!!! I am blessed to work with Mrs. Delrene Tschida.....

Andrea Watkins Posted over a year ago

Delrene has made such an incredible impact on my daughter’s education and life! Delrene is the DHH teacher for an entire county. That encompasses a vast area, and she is only one person. You would think that, being stretched so thin, she wouldn’t be able to make such a huge impact on each student, but she does. So in other words, she is superwoman! Delrene went to bat for my daughter to ensure she was receiving the best possible education. That meant traveling 6 hours round trip, multiple times, to help my daughter succeed in a new school. Prior to helping my daughter transition into a new placement, Delrene taught my daughter for several hours a week for over two years. Her teaching was invaluable to my child. I know Delrene teaches because she has a passion to ensure every Deaf child in her county reaches their full potential. I know Delrene will continue to make her student’s lives better. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to you Delrene??????

Kristen Schaehrer Posted over a year ago

I've had the honor to be Delrene's best friend for over 30 years. Through meeting her and spending time with her deaf mother, I was became aware of the challenges that faced her as a hearing child of deaf parents. When Delrene chose her career, it was a natural extension of her love of children and her belief to ensure that DHH students have the best possible opportunities. To watch her growth and utter tenacity is so inspiring. She overcomes challenges that I can't even fathom. I am biased but I've heard the numerous stories of the barriers she's surmounted and it truly amazes me. The DHH community has a champion in Delrene. They have a tireless leader and a changer of lives. She is more than deserving. I'm so proud of her and the example she is to so many people.

Ky Bessom Posted over a year ago

We are so thrilled to have Delrene as an amazing advocate and supporter of our son. After attending school for deaf and hard of hearing children for three years our son mainstreamed into our local public school in 1st grade. While we were lucky enough to have amazing teachers and support staff the thing we missed the most was the support and knowledge of someone who works with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. We were so happy when Delrene joined EDCOE! Her sunny and friendly disposition and her caring attitude always makes you feel comfortable bringing any concerns you have to her and she is always there to support her students and their families. And while she may always seem cheerful she also is not afraid to stand up for and advocate strongly for the needs of her students when she sees an issue with the support they are receiving. The support she provides students and the teachers of our students is amazing and I am so happy that we have her as part of our educational team!

Mike and Mary Posted over a year ago

From the first time we met her, we knew there was something extraordinary about Delrene. Her compassion and enthusiastic optimism are contagious. She is caring and empathetic towards all people, but particularly towards her students, to whom she is so dedicated. She is very invested in her students and their families, and is always willing to go above and beyond to ensure the best possible outcome for them, no matter the personal cost. Delrene Tschida is definitely deserving of this award!

Theresa Keuning Posted over a year ago

Delrene is an amazing, caring, and focused teacher. I have worked with her for several years and her commitment to her students is commendable. She puts her deaf/hard of hearing students first and strives to get them the support, services, and equipment they need to be successful in El Dorado County schools and in life. Our county has been challenged in the area of hiring DHH educators and Delrene is navigating an extremely large caseload with some assistance from contractors and support staff. It is a pleasure to work with her and I would love to see her receive an award for her service!

Amy Posted over a year ago

I have known Delrene since she came to El Dorado County, and have witnessed first hand her passion and dedication to the hearing challenged children of this county. Delrene has created a successful, transformative Deaf and Hard of Hearing program here, and has directly and profoundly changed the lives of so many children. She absolutely deserves the Life Changer award.

Jill Larson Posted over a year ago

I am actually a retired teacher of the deaf. I worked in the field for over 30 years. After I retired I thought it would be fun to spend a couple days a week still working with kids, So in 2016 I joined the El Dorado county office of education DHH team. I have witnessed how capably Delrene has grown the program. It has become a well oiled machine, and students are thriving under her oversight. She has made a powerful and long lasting impact on deaf children in the county. I have never met anyone more passionate and dedicated. She is definitely worthy of this nomination.

Dyan Sherwood Posted over a year ago

I have known Delrene Tschida since she started her career as a student teacher. That “spark” for educating students was evident to me from the beginning, and Delrene was hired to stay on at our school as a teacher at Metro Deaf School for more than a decade. She was then and still is filled with enthusiasm, compassion and passion for her work. She is a tireless champion for her students and families. Delrene definitely has shaped the path of her students over the years. She is a deserving educator worthy of the Life Changer award.

Amy K. Posted over a year ago

I have listened to Delrene talk about her students and their families. She truly wants what is best for them, even if it is not what is easiest for her and the rest of the education system.

Kristin Posted over a year ago

I had the honor of working with Mrs. Tschida at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont. I always looked up to her as a teacher. She is supportive and encouraging of her students skills and needs. Every student in her class know they are valued members of not just the classroom, but of the community at large.

Gina Alvarado Posted over a year ago

This was so lovely to read and know that Delrene is continuing to change lives of individuals all over the world! I have worked with Delrene in other capacities in Minnesota. I am also a proud individual raised by Deaf parents. We miss you here, Delrene! But there are many others that need your life-changing work! -\m/ Gina

Debbie O'Neill Posted over a year ago

What an exciting accomplishment! As a fellow Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf and a former CSD employee who has known you for a long time I can agree with enthusiasm that you are a great teacher!!

Renee Frey Posted over a year ago

Delrene is dynamite! She puts her students first through getting them the resources and exactly what they need. She is the epitome of what every teacher should aspire to be. Through her passion, experience, knowledge and tenacity she benefits the students, her peers, and the entire community. BRAVO!!!

Mayumi Davis Posted over a year ago

I had the privilege of teaming with her for the first few years of my teaching career. Ms. Tschida devotes her time not only to teaching but also to caring for her students who came from various backgrounds- many of them had little to no language foundation. She’s a true warrior and advocate for Deaf and Hard of Hearing kids.