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With Candib’s background in arts history and master’s degree in theater, it’s no mystery where she gets her passion for the performing arts. “The arts are everything, and I feel that students are not exposed to it enough,” she said. With shifting educational standards and ever-fewer arts-specialist teachers, general-education teachers are increasingly responsible for keeping valuable arts-related lessons in the classroom, which Candib calls necessary. “As an educator, I have an obligation to introduce my students to the different art forms so that they are culturally aware, and as they grow up they can learn to appreciate them,” she said. For the past two years she has been using “The Prospector,” a kid-friendly adaptation of a Puccini opera set in the Gold Rush period, to teach her kids about California history. She finds opera a valuable tool for teaching 9-year-old students. “It introduces them to history and language arts and to music and theater, which is proven to increase test scores in general.” More than a teacher, Candib has become an arts advocate at the school. She is involved in writing applications for grants to fund arts-related projects, and she teaches musical theater as an after-school enrichment class. She is one of three finalists in her category. The winner will be announced Feb. 27 at a dinner at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.musiccenter.org. [email protected] (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Linda is an outstanding teacher,” said Bernadette Torhan, the Helmers Elementary principal who nominated her for the award. “In my 28-year career in teaching, Linda Candib definitely falls into the top 1 percent.” As Candib’s students strolled in Tuesday from a physical-education class, they couldn’t contain their excitement for the accolade to the teacher they described as fun, interesting and “cool.” “She teaches a lot of different things, all fun stuff, but the best thing is she explains it to us in ways we can understand,” said Emily Tarantini, 9. For fourth-grader Jason Aguirre, Candib’s history lesson on jazz topped the list – one of several ways she is incorporating music into her Black History Month activities this month. “I loved Duke Ellington,” Jason said. VALENCIA – When Linda Candib’s fourth-graders got caught reading comic books, they weren’t reprimanded and sent to the principal’s office. Candib, a teacher at Charles Helmers Elementary School for nine years, used comic books as a way to teach Shakespeare to her students – one of many ways the former thespian incorporates the arts into her classroom every day. “I could teach without putting the arts into it, but that would be boring,” Candib said. For her creative way of bringing arts education into every element of her general-education classroom, Candib was named a finalist Tuesday for a coveted Bravo Award. The Music Center of Los Angeles County gives three of the awards annually: one to a general-education teacher, one to an arts-specialist teacher and one to a school for creativity, innovation and excellence in arts education.