2024 TOYs from School & College Districts

Contra Costa COE Honors 2024 Teachers of the Year from School and Community College Districts
Posted on 03/12/2024
PLEASANT HILL, Calif. — The top educators from Contra Costa County’s 18 school districts, the County Office of Education and the community college district were honored on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at a reception to kick off the county’s 2024-25 Teacher of the Year program.

These 22 distinguished instructors, who collectively represent more than 8,000 education professionals across public schools and community colleges in the county, will now vie to be named one of the two Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

“This reception marks a new cohort of Teachers of the Year to be celebrated,” Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey said. “These dedicated individuals serve as shining examples of public school teachers in Contra Costa County classrooms and I look forward to celebrating them throughout the Teacher of the Year process.”

Following their recognition as top teachers in their respective school districts, 21 nominees submitted applications for the Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year program. This year commemorates the 52nd anniversary of the program, highlighting its legacy in honoring outstanding educators.

In April, the selection committee will decide on four TOY finalists chosen from the 21 district teachers of the year who submitted applications. At the 52nd Annual Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year celebration on Thursday, September 19, at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek, two county winners will be revealed. Tickets for the TOY celebration will be on sale in April, and online donations to the program are welcomed.

The two county teachers of the year will progress to compete in the State of California's Teacher of the Year competition, marking a significant milestone in their educational journey.

The county competition, coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), utilizes a four-stage selection process and a point and percentage system for judging. The process involves a screening of applications from all district teachers of the year, followed by classroom evaluations and interviews for the finalists. Each finalist will also deliver a three- to five-minute speech to a panel of judges, covering teaching philosophies, techniques, and personal backgrounds.

To be eligible to be named a county or state Teacher of the Year, candidates must be a fully credentialed teacher currently employed to teach any pre-kindergarten through grade twelve curriculum to children or adults, have completed eight years of teaching and be employed full-time or as a long-term substitute with teaching as their primary responsibility.

2024-2025 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Nominees:
Katie Watson, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High School
Nicole Vicknair, Antioch Unified School District, Bidwell Continuation High School
Patty Barbosa, Brentwood Union School District, Mary Casey Elementary School
Andrea Kanazeh, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary School
Andria Madsen, CCCOE Student Programs, Liberty Transition School
Marilou Bibat, John Swett Unified School District, Carquinez Middle School
Karen O’Leary, Knightsen Elementary School District, Old River Elementary School
Stephanie Tompkins, Lafayette School District, Happy Valley Elementary School
Joshua Cauley, Liberty Union High School District, Heritage High School
Samantha Martinez, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High School
Virginia Vu, Moraga School District, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School
Mia Carella, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Walnut Acres Elementary School
Ingrid Wright, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Bancroft Elementary School
Kim Charlson, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Vintage Parkway Elementary School
Michelle Goode, Orinda Union Elementary School District, Del Rey Elementary School
Jennifer Martinez, Pittsburg Unified School District, Pittsburg High School
Kristy Candelaria, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, John Baldwin Elementary School
Tori Witty, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Iron Horse Middle School
Kerry Wilson, Walnut Creek School District, Walnut Heights Elementary School
Pilar Alvarado, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Lincoln Elementary School
Sean Ajayi, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Lincoln Elementary School
Scott Cabral, Contra Costa County Community College District, Los Medanos College

Notes regarding eligible participants:
• 17 of the 18 Contra Costa County school districts (and CCCOE) are participating in this year’s TOY program.
• Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for their outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition but will be recognized at the Contra Costa County Teacher or the Year Celebration.
• Mt. Diablo, San Ramon Valley, and West Contra Costa unified school districts are permitted to submit two TOY candidates due to the large number of students and teachers they serve.

For more information on the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year program or to donate, visit cocoschools.org/toy. Follow CCCOE on social media at @cocoschools.

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