The Bee's Knees Teacher Awards

$250 Donation From Every Sale For Our Teachers


August 2018 – Jacqui Weiss, 3rd Grade

Bio coming soon. . .












May 2018 – Julie Lucia, 3rd Grade

Julie was raised in Tahoe then attended UCSB, but transferred to UCSC.  She has been teaching for 14 years, 5 of which have been at Vine Hill.  Julie has two amazing children, Mason (9) and Ayla (11 months) and an equally amazing husband.  She loves spending her free time with her family at the beach or going on hikes.  Her passion is teaching young people about how to practice mindfulness. ✨







March 2018 – Katie Foster-Blue

Katie Blue got her start at UCSC 20 years ago with a Masters Degree in Education and a BA in Psychology.  She went on to begin her teaching career in Watsonville where she found a wonderful community and her passion in teaching 4th and 5th graders.  She especially loved teaching science and math as a way to connect and engage English Language Learners.  Katie took some time off to raise her young kids, working part time as an elementary science teacher, ELL coordinator and ELL support teacher.


Katie was fortunate three years ago to join the Vine Hill community as a third grade teacher.  She loves working with her colleagues, and is finding joy in empowering children with Mindfulness and Growth Mindset strategies so that they can find passion in learning too!  Twenty years later, she has two kids of her own and lives in the San Lorenzo Valley where she plays soccer, gardens, and hikes and camps with her two kids and dog.


December 2017 – Peggy Benjamin, 1st Grade

I live in beautiful Boulder Creek near family and friends. My son, Evan is an electrical contractor and his wife Halley is a teacher at San Lorenzo Elementary. (Another Mrs. Benjamin!) My family’s farm, Camp Joy Garden, is a frequent field trip for Vine Hill students and a place I will

spend a lot of time when I retire. I love reading, hiking, yoga, travel and foodie experiences.

I will be retiring after this year and am looking forward to traversing the next path that life brings me. With that said, I must say that leaving Vine Hill is a bittersweet feeling. I have loved teaching at Vine Hill. This is my 22nd year at V.H. I taught Kindergarten for 17 years, 2nd for 3 years and 1st for 2 (including this year). 17+3+2=22 correct.

Firstly, the students have shown me love, engagement, kindness, appreciation and challenge. This last year my focus has been intentionally on building champions in my students. I am teaching this by continuing our Mindfulness practice and modeling the importance of empathy, kindness and understanding of others. Love needs us right now.

My colleagues are some of my best friends; those who have moved on and the ones who are currently teaching with me. The value and support I’ve received from my co teachers has been immeasurable. Only a teacher can understand the complexity of educating and the conversations, collaborations and commiserating we share are the BEST!


The Bee's KneesMay, 2017- MICHELE SANGUINETTI, Kindergarten

Michele enters the classroom with a sense of humor and curiosity about her students. What are their strengths and weaknesses, and in what way can she use that information to build students’ self-confidence, develop a sense of wonder, and to accomplish goal-specific mastery?

Michele has been married to her husband David for 35 years.  Thirty-three of their years spent together were here in Scotts Valley where they raised their two children. Michele has been teaching at Vine Hill School for 16 years.  She taught in a 2/3 multi-age and third grade classroom for 12 years before teaching kindergarten.

Before Michele was a teacher, she was a park ranger for the City of Palo Alto for 10 years. “Retiring” when she was raising her children allowed her to volunteer in classrooms and coach numerous sports.  Recognizing how much joy she felt at mentoring youth, Michele returned to school so that she could teach and continue to make an impact on children’s lives.

Michele knows the value of her learning community.  It is her belief that her successes as a teacher are in large part due to those she works with, the parents who give so selflessly, and most importantly, the children she teaches.  She strongly believes that each child has individual needs.  It is her job to value the uniqueness of each child.

When not at school, Michele can be found working in her garden, playing a round of golf, enjoying the sunset from the “treehouse” in her backyard, reading a good book, and traveling with her husband.  The highlight of each summer is her family’s annual camping trip to the Sierras.  Michele’s favorite classroom sayings are, “It’s okay to make mistakes” and “Are you making a good choice?”