Contra Costa County’s school districts announce their 2019-2020 Teachers of the Year

Contra Costa County’s school districts announce their 2019-2020 Teachers of the Year
Posted on 04/16/2019

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 15, 2019 – Recently, the school districts in Contra Costa County proudly submitted their 2019-2010 Teacher of the Year (TOY) candidates to the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). The newly honored teachers are not only recognized for their outstanding education achievements, but they also represent the approximately 8,637 teachers educating more than 177,000 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. (See list below.)

Currently, the upcoming school year’s 22 TOYs represent 17 (of 18) Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education. Most of these representatives, those who teach grades K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two top teachers in the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

“We are extremely proud of the Teachers of the Year, Class of 2019-2020,” reports Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey. “When you review their TOY applications, it is quite evident that the latest candidates were thoughtfully selected to represent their schools and districts, while at the same time truly embody what is best about public education.”

The county’s TOY program is directed by the CCCOE, and with such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from (18 teachers eligible this year), the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates as follows:

I Application Screening:
On April 12, a committee of 13 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners will carefully review the TOY representative applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently read and rated each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers will be selected to advance to the next two phases as finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:
April 22-May 17, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the four finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee will interview the candidates, discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.

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 close to 500) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Ms. Mackey, who serves as master of ceremonies, will introduce all 22 TOYs to the attendees. 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. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic conclusion with the announcement of the two 2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

  • Paul Verbanszky, Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo High School

  • DarVisa R. Marshall, Antioch Unified School District, Antioch Middle School

  • Ezra Smith, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elem/Loma Vista Elem

  • Alicia Woodson, Byron Union School District, Discovery Bay Elementary

  • Cheri Etheredge, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa Community College

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

  • Nagia "GG" Abdu, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High School

  • Katy Bracelin, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary School

  • Cindy Fisher, Lafayette School District, Happy Valley Elementary School

  • Gina Capelli, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High School

  • Pamuela Galletti, Martinez Unified School District, John Muir Elementary School

  • Jennifer Strohmeyer, Moraga School District, Donald L. Rheem Elementary School

  • Emily Andrews, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Bancroft Elementary School

  • Shay Kornfeld, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Diablo View Middle School

  • Maria Fernandez, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary School

  • Jennifer Dodd, Orinda Union School District, Del Rey Elementary School

  • Maureen Mattson, Pittsburg Unified School District, Pittsburg High School

  • Athena Agustin, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High School

  • Nusheen Saadat, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Quail Run Elementary School

  • Jana Palmquist, Walnut Creek School District, Walnut Creek Intermediate School

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

  • Doug Silva, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Helms Middle School

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Seventeen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, and 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. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Contra Costa College’s turn.

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

Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter and Instagram at: #cocotoy

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