A Matilija Junior High School teacher who is a community peace activist has been selected Ventura County's teacher of the year.
Mike Krumpschmidt, a social studies and computer literacy teacher, is the first Ojai educator to receive the honor since the award program began in 1973.
"I hope this brings a little limelight to the area in general," Krumpschmidt said. "I think this is a good opportunity to show some of the good stuff going on in education here."
Krumpschmidt has been a member of the board of the Citizens to Preserve the Ojai, has organized political debates and is active in Beyond War, an organization dedicated to world peace.
On his own time, Krumpschmidt recruited nearly 100 area children for a production of "Peace Child," a musical that teaches youngsters how conflicts can be resolved peacefully.
He plans to bring 10 Soviet children to Ojai this summer to join the cast for a reprise of "Peace Child," which will be performed in other county communities as well as Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
Krumpschmidt coached basketball, track and cross-country for seven of his 11 years at Matilija and was named coach of the year by the county Track and Cross Country Coaches Assn.
He was instrumental in obtaining grants that funded a computer lab and in organizing the school's computer curriculum, said Jim Berube, Matilija principal.
Involvement in activities ranging from running to peace plays is crucial to his teaching philosophy, Krumpschmidt said. "It's important that the kids know you really are well-rounded and not just appear to be."
Krumpschmidt immigrated to the United States from Germany with his family when he was 10. He earned a bachelors degree in history and his teaching credentials from the University of California-Santa Barbara, and a masters degree degree in social studies and history from Azusa Pacific University. He taught for one year in West Covina before coming to Matilija.
Krumpschmidt is one of 60 county teachers of the year eligible for the state title.