By Matthew Roehl, LVMS Teacher
(The following was written by teacher Matthew Roehl and shared by Mr. Roehl during the Lucerne Valley Middle School Commencement Exercises at Ron Peavy Field on May 27th, 2021.)
The Lakers had Kobe, the Patriots had Tom Brady, the Dodgers had Jackie Robinson, and Lucerne Valley had Naomi Oyadomari. At just north of five foot tall, her power came from other places — her instinct, her strong will, her willingness to take risks, and her love of leading students in the right direction.
Naomi Oyadomari began teaching sixth grade in Lucerne Valley in 1991, bringing four years of experience with her from the L.A. area. Over the next 30 years, she taught sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Naomi mostly taught English and History, but it was her electives that brought her into LV celebrity status. She taught electives that she loved to teach such as drama, journalism, AVID and ASB. She even created her own original electives such as video productions and PALS. She was always ahead of the educational curve, asking administration to fund elective classes led by her and others that would become trailblazer courses in Lucerne Valley. She was the leading voice for our district to adopt the AVID program. Not only was Naomi responsible bringing on AVID, she taught the AVID elective and became our school’s AVID director which helped us to get AVID certified in record time. But that’s Naomi — she never does anything halfway. It’s 110% dedication or forget it!
Ms. Oyadomari is the ultimate organizer. She always centered around great fun and memorable experiences. She organized hundreds of dances, field trips, recreation nights, graduation ceremonies, “air-rocks”, sixth grade camps, and even far away east coast history trips — seven times over with one more still to come in 2022. And it’s not just the trips, it’s all the elaborate fundraisers needed to reduce the cost of those trips so the families of LV could afford to send their students. All that incredible effort, most of it without pay, to give LV students the opportunity to get out there and experience life! Ms. O brought the amazing outside world to very isolated students, and that simply changed their lives. That is what she’s done — changed lives.
Naomi has won several “Teacher of the Year Awards” including the “American History Grant Fellowship” in 2003, the “We The People Fellowship” in 2005, the “Teachers R Heroes” Award in 2016, the “Ford’s Theater Foundation War/Peace Fellowship” in 2018, and the “Keizai Koho Teacher Fellowship” in 2019, a grant only a handful of teachers across the US ever win — all that while she raised two terrific children and survived cancer.
William Ward said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Ms. O has inspired thousands of students and parents, hundreds of teachers, administrators, and board members. In her 34 years of teaching, Ms. Oyadomari gave students a reason to love learning and teachers a reason to love teaching! She will be deeply missed everywhere in Lucerne Valley. As she returns back from where began in Hawaii, we all want to say Mahalo Nui Loa. (Thank you very much)