2017-18 Teacher of the Year

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, four 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); and Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified (2017). In addition, William Pence, San Ramon Valley Unified (1999), was selected to represent California at the National Teacher of the Year level. And, in the last two years, the County has had two other state representatives - Mary Allan, Antioch Unified (2001) and Janet Gower, Mt. Diablo Unified (2002).

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

2017-2018 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives

Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representative Paula Raj

Paula Raj
West Contra Costa Unified SD
De Anza High


Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representative, Marissa Ware

Marissa Ware
San Ramon Valley Unified SD
John Baldwin Elementary


2017-2018 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Finalists

West Contra Costa Unified School District Teacher of the Year Paula Raj

Paula Raj
West Contra Costa
Unified SD
De Anza High

Walnut Creek School District Teacher of the Year Kari Stewart

Kari Stewart
Walnut Creek SD
Tice Creek Elementary


Mt. Diablo Unified School District Teacher of the Year Tom Trowbridge

Tom Trowbridge
Mt. Diablo Unified SD
Concord High


San Ramon Valley Unified School District Teacher of the Year Marissa Ware

Marissa Ware
San Ramon Valley
Unified SD
John Baldwin Elementary

2017-2018 County District Teachers of the Year

Brentwood Union School District Teacher of the Year Shawna Borba

Shawna Borba
Brentwood Union SD
Bristow Middle


Orinda Union School District Teacher of the Year Susan Boudreau

Susan Boudreau
Orinda Union SD
Orinda Intermediate


Liberty Union High School District Trina Bradshaw

Trina Bradshaw
Liberty Union High SD
Liberty High School


West Contra Costa Unified School District Teacher of the Year Tiffany Chieudjui

Tiffany Chieudjui
West Contra Costa
Unified SD
Grant Elementary

Oakley Union Elementary School District Teacher of the Year Paige Colburn

Paige Colburn
Oakley Union
Elementary SD
Gehringer Elementary

Community College District Teacher of the Year John Freytag

John Freytag
Contra Costa Community
College District
Diablo Valley College

San Ramon Valley Unified School District Teacher of the Year Kelly Giotta

Kelly Giotta
San Ramon Valley
Unified SD
Gale Ranch Middle

Knightsen Elementary School District Teacher of the Year Paula Gonzalez

Paula Gonzalez
Knightsen Elementary SD
Knightsen Elementary


Walnut Creek School District Teacher of the Year China Harvey

China Harvey
Walnut Creek SD
Las Lomas High


Pittsburg Unified School District Teacher of the Year Michael Haase-Whitaker

Michael Haase-Whitaker
Pittsburg Unified SD
Highlands Elementary


Mt. Diablo Unified School District Teacher of the Year Margaret Honey

Margaret Honey
Mt. Diablo Unified SD
Northgate High


Byron Union School District Teacher of the Year Erica Hornnes

Erica Hornnes
Byron Union SD
Excelsior Middle


Morage School District Teacher of the Year Amanda Lorie

Amanda Lorie
Moraga SD
Donald L. Rheem
Elementary

Lafayette School District Teacher of the Year Linda Mara

Linda Mara
Lafayette SD
Stanley Middle


Martinez Unified School District Teacher of the Year Julie Quinn

Julie Quinn
Martinez Unified SD
Las Juntas Elementary


Antioch Unified School District Teacher of the Year Jacey Renfroe

Jacey Renfroe
Antioch Unified SD
Marsh Elementary


CCCOE Teacher of the Year Rhuepell Stroud

Rhuepell Stroud
CCCOE
Court Schools


John Swett Unified School District Teacher of the Year David Taylor

David Taylor
John Swett Unified SD
Rodeo Hills Elementary


Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Seventeen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented (plus the 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 his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. This year, it is Diablo Valley College's turn. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.)

  • Due to the larger number of students in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to select two TOY candidates.

2017-18 TEACHER OF THE YEAR SELECTION COMMITTEE

Anne Battersby, Piedmont School District

Rena Cutright, West Contra Retired Teachers Assoc.

Barbara Diskowski, Diablo Vista Retired Teachers Assoc.

Karl Fischer, Contra Costa Health Services

Lori Herington, Comcast

Karen Hurd, Contra Costa County Schools Insurance Group

Emily Justice, Contra Costa County Office of Education

Jessica Leal, Travis Credit Union

Annette Lewis, 32nd PTA

Aimee Lohr, Phillips 66

Alison McKee, Contra Costa County Library

Dr. Diane Mukerjee, California State University, East Bay

Elizabeth Nardi, Lindsay Wildlife Experience

Dr. Heidi Rambo, St. Mary's College

Michael Wasilchin, West Contra Costa Unified School District

Steve Woodhead, Chevron USA, Inc.

Susan Yamashita, Lafayette School District (ret)

Dr. Rona Zollinger, Former Teacher of the Year

Nicholas Zefeldt, Former Teacher of the Year

ABOUT THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM

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, four 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); and Janice Bergamini, Mt. Diablo Unified (1991). In addition, William Pence, San Ramon Valley Unified (1999), was selected to represent California at the National Teacher of the Year level. And, in the last two years, the County has had two other state representatives - Mary Allan, Antioch Unified (2001) and Janet Gower, Mt. Diablo Unified (2002).

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 13, 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 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:

This coming July, 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 27, 2018, 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 Karen Sakata, 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 2018-2019 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.

HONOR OUR TEACHERS: DONATE TO THE TEACHERS OF THE YEAR PROGRAM

There are four major categories or levels for donating to the TOY Program:

  1. Visionaries: $5,000 to $10,000 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.

For more information, or to donate to the Program, please e-mail Diane Morrell at dmorrell@cccoe.k12.ca.us

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

Chevron, Title Sponsor

Visionaries

Bay Area Newspaper Group

Contra Costa County Office of Education

Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation

Diablo Magazine

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

Wells Fargo Bank

Benefactors

4Imprint

Allegro Copy and Print

C. Overaa and Company

Center REP/Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts

Fagen, Friedman and Fulfrost, LLP

Gillin Jacobson, Ellis, Larsen and Lucey Accident Attorneys

Kaiser Permanente

Mechanics Bank

Mike and Shari Maxwell

Phillips 66

Pleasant Hill Rotary Foundation

Shell Martinez Refinery

Sunset Development Company

The Oakland A's

Travis Credit Union

USS POSCO Industries

Sponsors

 

ACSA Region 6

Barrett Rodda, Short Story Films

Broadway Plaza Shopping Center

California Symphony

Denalect Alarm

Keenan & Associates

Office Depot

Sun Valley Shopping Center, Concord

Contributors

1st Northern California Credit Union

Capitol Advisors

CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer

Dannis, Woliver and Kelley Attorneys at Law

Lakeshore Learning

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

Pete's Coffee, Pleasant Hill

Sloats Garden Center

CONTACTS

TITLE NAME (click to email) PHONE FAX
Manager, Events/Projects
Teacher of the Year Coordinator
Diane Morrell (925) 942-3406 (925) 942-3454
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