2019-20 Teacher of the Year

2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year


Maureen Mattson
Pittsburg Unified School District
Pittsburg High


Shay Kornfeld
Mt. Diablo Unified School District
Diablo View Middle

2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Finalists

Get to know our finalists—view a short video by clicking on their names below.



Gina Capelli
Liberty Union High School District
Liberty High 



Shay Kornfeld
Mt. Diablo Unified School District
Diablo View Middle



DarVisa R. Marshall
Antioch Unified School District
Antioch Middle



Maureen Mattson
Pittsburg Unified School District
Pittsburg High

2019-2020 District Teachers of the Year


Nagia "Gigi" Abdu

John Swett Unified School District
John Swett High


Athena Agustin

San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Dougherty Valley High


Emily Andrews

Mt. Diablo Unified School District
Bancroft Elementary


Katy Bracelin

Knightsen Elementary School District
Knightsen Elementary

Jennifer Dodd

Orinda Union School District
Del Rey Elementary


Cheri Etheredge
Contra Costa Community College District
Contra Costa Community College


Maria Fernandez
Oakley Union Elementary School District
Oakley Elementary

Cindy Fisher

Lafayette School District
Happy Valley Elementary


Pamuela Galletti
Martinez Unified School District
John Muir Elementary


Kevin McKibben
Contra Costa County Office of Education
Mt. McKinley School


Daniel O’Shea
West Contra Costa Unified School District
Pinole Valley High 


Jana Palmquist
Walnut Creek School District
Walnut Creek Intermediate



Nusheen Saadat
San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Quail Run Elementary



Doug Silva
West Contra Costa Unified School District
Helms Middle 



Ezra Smith
Brentwood Union School District
Pioneer Elem/Loma Vista Elementary


Jennifer Strohmeyer
Moraga School District
Donald L. Rheem Elementary


Paul Verbanszky
Acalanes Union High School District
Campolindo High 


Alicia Woodson
Byron Union School District
Discovery Bay Elementary




In 1972, California began recognizing outstanding teachers, establishing the Teachers of the Year Program. This program is open to all teachers in public schools who teach pre-kindergarten through college. Contra Costa County has participated in the program since its beginning, when Joseph E. Davis, Jr., of the Acalanes Union High School District, was named the county's first representative.

Since that time, eight teachers from this county have been State finalists: Janet Neill, San Ramon Valley Unified (1975); David Eakin, John Swett Unified (1981); William Thomas, Mt. Diablo Unified (1982); Janice Bergamini, Mt. Diablo Unified (1991); Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified (2017); and Kelly Perkins (Mt. Diablo Unified (2019). The County has had four State winners: Mary Allan, Antioch Unified (2001); Janet Gower, Mt. Diablo Unified (2002); and William Pence, San Ramon Valley Unified (1999); and Rosie Reid, Mt. Diablo Unified (2019). Both William Pence and Rosie Reid were selected to represent California at the National Teacher of the Year level.

List of past Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives from 1977 to present (PDF)

The county's TOY program is directed by the CCCOE. With such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from, the CCCOE's TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidate as follows:

I Application Screening:

On April 12, a committee representing the county's education, business, and public-sector partners will meticulously review the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rates each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers will be selected to advance to the next phase as semifinalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:

In April/May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the semifinalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates, discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques. The results of the two screening processes are then combined to determine the four finalists.

III Speech Presentation:

On July 24, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 26, 2019, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of approximately 450) will be honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Gala Dinner, held at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects her classroom visits of each teacher during the recent spring and summer months. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in July) to the filled banquet room. The excitement-filled evening will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the 2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

The County representatives are announced at the Awards Dinner in September at a gala affair that honors each district's Teacher of the Year. Local business and community organizations generously donate classroom grants, services and other items to each of the district winners.


There are four major categories or levels for donating to the TOY Program:
Title Sponsor -- Chevron USA ($10,000)

  1. Visionaries: $5,000 to $9,999 range (2 complimentary tickets to the Gala dinner)

  2. Benefactors: $1,000 to $4,999 range

  3. Sponsors: $500 to $999 range

  4. Contributors: $499 or below in amount or services

Most sponsors earmark their grants for the teachers' classrooms or schools; Chevron, Inc. sponsors the dinner itself, and the cost of dinner for each of the Teachers of the Year and three of their guests, in addition to $5,000 towards classroom grant distributed amongst the Teachers of the Year.

Many thanks to our generous donors who made our program a success!

Chevron, Title Sponsor 


Contra Costa County Office of Education

Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation

Saint Mary's College of California, Kalmanovitz School of Education

Wells Fargo Bank

   cccoe     lesher          stmarys          wellsfargo


Allegro Copy and Print

Bay Area Newspaper Group

C. Overaa and Company

Center REP/Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts

Dannis, Woliver and Kelley Attorneys at Law

Fagen, Friedman and Fulfrost, LLP

Gillin Jacobson, Ellis, Larsen and Lucey 
Accident Attorneys

John Muir Health

Kaiser Permanente

McGraw Hill

Mechanics Bank

The Oakland Athletics

Phillips 66

Shell Martinez Refinery

Sunset Development Company

Travis Credit Union

University of California, Berkeley Intercollegiate Athletics

USS POSCO Industries



ACSA Region 6

Barrett Rodda, Short Story Films

Carlos Reyes

Denalect Alarm

Keenan & Associates

Mike and Shari Maxwell

Office Depot

Pleasant Hill Rotary Foundation


1st Northern California Credit Union

Capitol Advisors

CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer

Cole Supply Company, Inc.

Contra Costa County School Insurance Group

Hilton Concord

Lakeshore Learning

Lozano Smith

O'Conner, Runckel, and O'Malley, LLP

Packaging Options USA

Peet's Coffee, Pleasant Hill




Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year being honored at Teachers' Night Out at the Oakland A's Coliseum! 

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