Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Queens of Crown City: Amy Steward Educates and Inspires Generations

The Coronado Times is doing a series on powerful women in our community, sharing their stories so that they may inspire others or simply remind us of positivity and goodness around us.

Long-time Coronado resident Amy Steward is known to many locals for her inspiring work as a tireless educator, activist, volunteer, and mentor. Amy’s positive impact on so many Coronado residents has earned her recognition as a Queen of our Crown City.

Amy Steward is a Queen of Crown City.

Amy first moved to Coronado with her Navy family when she was in elementary school. She returned to Coronado multiple times during her husband’s Naval career, always returning to Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) where she taught at both elementary and middle schools. In 1997, Amy returned to permanently settle in Coronado and rejoin the faculty at Coronado schools. As a 5th grade teacher at Village Elementary school, Amy earned the Time Warner Cable National Teacher Award. Her desire to bring learning to life led Amy to create Colonial Day which continues to give Village Elementary and Silver Strand fifth grade students a memorable opportunity to experience aspects of colonial life including candle dipping, making apple sauce, and dancing. Amy’s passion for engaging students in the community led her to bring the “Take A Veteran to School Day” celebration to Coronado schools. The event brings Veterans into school classrooms, and in prior years featured an exciting parachute landing on the Coronado High School (CHS) Niedermeyer field. 

Amy implemented the History Channel’s “Take A Veteran to School Day” program.

Amy eventually moved her talents to Coronado Middle School (CMS) where she spent eight years teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. Her yearbook class at CMS consistently earned national awards for most outstanding yearbook. Amy also initiated the KCMS class — teaching students to research, write, and produce live professional television broadcasts. Over several years, Amy built the KCMS studio which was renamed Steward Studio in 2018 in honor of her impact and commitment to her students. Under Amy’s guidance, student KCMS productions were recognized by the History Channel, the Coronado Island Film Festival, and the San Diego County Student Film Festival. Amy was awarded CMS teacher of the year before her 2018 retirement from CUSD.

Amy’s national award-winning yearbook class.
KCMS students capturing video footage.

Amy’s commitment to students extended beyond the classroom. In addition to serving as the Principal of the Village Elementary summer school, Amy also served on the Coronado Schools Foundation (CSF) Board helping to produce the CSF annual fundraising telethons and co-chaired the Brian Bent Memorial Aquatics Complex endowment. Amy’s skills and energy prompted her to found the Coronado Speed Spinners jump rope team where she coached students competing at the national level. Under Amy’s leadership, the jump rope team raised over $500,000 as the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart Demonstration Team. Coronado Speed Spinners continues today under the leadership of Amy’s former student, Melinda Everett.

Amy in her former CMS classroom.

Since retiring from CUSD, Amy has dedicated herself to educating the community about the environment through her non-profit organization, Emerald Keepers. Amy began her career as a park ranger, so Emerald Keepers is a return to her roots teaching people to care for the ocean, air, and land. One of Emerald Keepers’ first initiatives was to ask Coronado residents to sign a pledge to protect our environment for an “Emerald Green, Ocean Blue Coronado.” Since then, Amy has overseen Emerald Keeper’s installation of the educational kiosk sign at the Glorietta Bay boat launch and the introduction of “Boris the Marine Skimmer” with the Coronado Yacht Club. Emerald Keepers continues to offer a variety of activities to engage the local community including beach clean ups, guest speakers, educational articles, art contests, movie screenings, book discussions, and the Emerald Green, Ocean Blue program with local restaurants and businesses. Emerald Keepers also sponsors the CHS club that composts organic waste at the school garden. 

Amy runs the non-profit Emerald Keepers.

In her limited spare time, Amy is also a prolific volunteer with many community organizations. Amy volunteered for 28 weeks at the Sharp COVID vaccination clinic at the Coronado Community Center and championed the campaign for a League of Wives memorial. At the onset of the pandemic, Amy and her retired Navy SEAL husband, Dan’l, chaired the Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) community program ensuring every one in Coronado had a personal connection. Amy is also a proud Rotarian who is actively involved with their International Climate Action Team, Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group and is chairing the Rotary Low Tide Ride and Stride for 2022. Prior to joining Rotary, Amy’s exceptional community service was recognized with the prestigious Rotary International Rotarian Spouse/Partner Service Award. Amy has also volunteered as an Assistant Leader for Girl Scouts and on the Junior Sailing Board at Coronado Yacht Club.

Going forward, Amy’s efforts are focused on making Coronado a model city for sustainability. In the immediate future, Amy is working on Coronado’s Climate Action Plan encouraging City Council to bring clean, renewable energy to everyone in Coronado. Amy and Emerald Keepers are also focused on eliminating single-use plastics. Local beach clean ups continue to show extensive trash on our beaches, in our coastal waters, and along our streets and parks that reinforce the importance of Amy’s environmental work.

When asked about the inspiration for her extensive community work, Amy shared, “being a Navy Junior and spouse and a lover of the outdoors and water sports has influenced my work. My daughter D’amy (CHS 2016 graduate) inspires me to continue my work with Emerald Keepers.”

Amy with her daughter, D’Amy.

Amy demonstrates a deep love for Coronado, but shared she is saddened by the recent divisiveness in our community. She hopes everyone will “go out of their way to spread kindness to our neighbors, refrain from ugly comments – written or verbal, clean up the trash in our town, use less, and find gratitude in each day. We live in one of the best communities! Let’s come together to be the community that brought us all here.”

Amy is brimming with energy and ideas as she continues to devote herself to making Coronado a model city for everyone to enjoy. In name and action, Amy is an exemplary steward and Queen of our Crown City.



 

The Coronado Times welcomes ‘Queens of Crown City’ suggestions from our readers of local women to profile. Email your nomination here.



Chloe Berk
Chloe has called Coronado home since she could walk or talk and considers herself a true Islander. She is currently a student at Coronado High School and a writer for the Islander Times. After studying and writing articles, she enjoys volleyball, the beach, and her newly-adopted dogs from PAWS. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]
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