Contra Costa educators honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Dinner Gala

Contra Costa educators honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Dinner Gala
Posted on 10/01/2019

Mt. Diablo and Pittsburg Unified School District teachers to represent county

CONCORD, Calif., September 27, 2019 ­– Last night’s annual Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year (TOY) Dinner Gala was filled with joyful inspiration, as 22 deserving county school district teachers were honored in front of a crowd of more than 400 attendees at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey concluded the festivities by announcing Shay Kornfeld, Mt. Diablo Unified School District and Maureen Mattson, Pittsburg Unified School District were named the county’s 2019-20 Teachers of the Year.

Science instructor and robotics club advisor, Shay Kornfeld, has been teaching at Diablo View Middle School, in Clayton, for the past three years. Five years prior, Kornfeld taught grades 4 and 5 at Fair Oaks Elementary School, in Pleasant Hill. Kornfield says that he was lucky enough to grow up in a loving household with educated parents and grandparents that fostered his sense of curiosity and adventure. “Then, I had a teacher, Glen Barker [2018 CCCOE Teacher of the Year], who made school feel like summer camp for the first time in my life,” remembers Kornfeld. “Without these amazing people, perhaps I would not have chosen the career path I have – but choose it I did, and what an amazing ride thus far!”

Maureen Mattson has been a positive fixture for the past 33 years at Pittsburg High School. The honored teacher has been teaching physical education during her entire career at the school. Along with teaching physical education, she has served many other rolls, including the school’s women’s basketball coach, assistant principal, and assistant athletic director. In addition, Mattson coaches students in the Unified Sports program, which pairs students with disabilities with non-disabled students to compete in sporting events. “My biggest influence in becoming a teacher was my father, Bob Matson,” reflects Mattson. “He was a physical education teacher, department chair, athletic director, and coach of multiple sports at Hollister High School for 38 years.”

Kornfeld and Mattson’s pathways to becoming this year’s Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year were quite the endeavor. After both teachers were named Teacher of the Year by their school districts, last March, Kornfeld and Mattson successfully proceeded, with the other 19, K-12 eligible county candidates, through a rigorous countywide selection process, including an application screening, classroom evaluation and interview, and speech presentation. Their two fellow finalists were Gina Capelli, Liberty Union High School District (Liberty High School) and DarVisa Marshal, Antioch Unified School District, (Antioch Middle School). 

The evening’s sizable audience included the TOYs’ family members and friends, as well as numerous local educators, business partners, and elected-official representatives. Kicking off the festivities was a musical performance provided by the Deer Valley High School Chorus, directed by Michelle Stark. (Stark was the 2018-19 Antioch Unified School District TOY).

The evening also offered a 20-minute video that featured a visit to each of the honored TOYs’ classrooms, and short interviews of their raving students. This was followed by Mackey introducing the TOY class of 2019-2020, individually on to the stage, where each teacher told the audience about which teacher inspired them to follow a career in education. Afterwards, the four TOY finalists each presented a short speech to the crowd, incorporating the topic: “What I have learned from my students.” The highly anticipated announcement of the two new county TOYs concluded the exciting festivities with a loud ovation.

Kornfeld and Mattson will now participate with all the other California county representatives in the California State TOY competition. The California State Teachers of the Year are expected to be announced by mid-October. The county TOY program is coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education.

For additional info and a complete list of this year’s TOYS, visit the CCCOE’s Teacher of the Year Web page.

Related 2019 TOY news release:

2019-20 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year Finalists Named

About Contra Costa County Office of Education

Video about CCCOE:

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