Teachers 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, 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:

In April/May, 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 committee of former County Teachers of the Year 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:

In 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 23, 2021, all 21 TOYs will be honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Gala, this year being broadcast virtually on the CCCOE website, on YouTube and on edTV (Comcast Channel 32). This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in July). The excitement-filled evening will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the 2021-2022 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

Martinez Refinery Company

Saint Mary's College

   lesher  Martinez Refinery Company Saint Mary's College


Allegro Copy and Print 

ASCA Region 6

Dannis, Woliver and Kelley Attorneys at Law

Denalect Alarm

Kaiser Permanente

Mechanics Bank

Mercedes Benz Walnut Creek

Travis Credit Union



1st NorCal Bank

Keenan & Associates

Pawar Transportation LLC


32nd PTA District PTA

Lakeshore Learning

Lozano Smith LLP

O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley

Trader Joe's Walnut Creek




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