Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year finalist complete their final phase

Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year finalist complete their final phase
Posted on 07/25/2018

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., July 25, 2018 – It was an absolute morning of numerous smiles, a few teary eyes, and plenty of inspiration for the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) employees (who served as the audience) and invited speech judges at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Speech Presentation, held on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at the CCCOE’s Stewart Building, in Pleasant Hill.

After a rigorous selection process, the four current Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) finalists concluded their progression by each presenting a prepared three- to five-minute speech, titled: “What have I learned from my students.” It was clear that the 15-person judging panel and audience were very impressed with the four heart-felt speeches. The notable judging panel included county members representing education, non-profits, businesses, and agencies. (For more information about the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Program, and the three-stage judging process, please review this Web page.)

This year’s Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year finalists are the following:

With a slight detour towards her teaching career, Shanna Gagnon started in the business world right after college. Though she was quite successful in her corporate work, as an accountant and later as a buyer, she felt it lacked purpose. Fortunately, for the six-year history/iQuest teacher and her students, she found her purpose in teaching. For the past five years she has been teaching at California High School, in San Ramon. Before coming to California High, she taught history for three years with Alhambra High School (Martinez) and Acalanes High School (Lafayette).

Kelly Perkins, a life skills and remedial math and language arts instructor, chose teaching special education classes because she enjoys guiding her students to become independent thinkers and learners. For the past 10 years, Perkins has been a special day class teacher at Ygnacio Valley High School, in Concord. In addition, her 27-year teaching career includes special education instruction for two elementary schools, as well as continuing to serve as an adjunct professor for the Education Specialist Program at St. Mary’s College, in Moraga, since 1988.

Rosie Reid was certainly destined to teach English, with her enormous appetite to read books from an early age. Reid was the best customer when the book mobile would come to town, and she would always walk away with a new tower of books to take on. For the past two years, Reid has taught English/ELD at Northgate High School, in Walnut Creek. Her 16 years of instruction includes teaching high school English courses at Piedmont High School, in Piedmont and John O’Connell High School, in San Francisco.

Andrea Salas grew up with an absolute love for her time in school, so much so, she “held class” for her fellow neighborhood kids on her front lawn, during the summers. Following college, Salas began her teaching career with Teach for America, where the Los Angeles native brought her education love and skills up north to the Oakland Unified School District’s classrooms for five years. Next, she began teaching mathematics, statistics and computer science at Alhambra High School, in Martinez, and has been there for the past 19 years.

 For additional information about the four finalists, please visit these Web pages: Shanna Gagnon,  Kelly Perkins, Rosie Reid, and Andrea Salas.

Coming up, on the evening of September 27, 2018, 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. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, 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 on July 24) to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic conclusion with the announcement of the two 2018-2019 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

The two winners of the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall. 



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