School Districts Name Top Educators for 2022-23

Eligible teachers will be considered for the Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year program
Posted on 04/18/2022
District Teachers of the YearPLEASANT HILL, Calif. — Nineteen educators in Contra Costa County have been named their school districts’ teacher of the year. With that distinction, they represent the nearly 8,600 teachers teaching in Contra Costa County public schools and community colleges.

Eligible teachers have also submitted their applications to be considered for the 2022-2023 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year which is organized by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). This marks the 50th Anniversary of the Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year Program. This year’s theme is 50 Years of Teaching Excellence.

The teachers represent 18 county school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District and the Contra Costa County Office of Education. To be eligible to compete in the county competition, a teacher must be a Kindergarten through 12th-grade teacher and have a minimum of eight years of experience.

“I would like to congratulate all of the teachers who were honored by their districts,” Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey said. “This talented group of educators are passionate about what they do, working with students and making their profession better. They are exemplary representatives of their schools and school districts, and personify the best of what public education in Contra Costa County has to offer.”

Four finalists will be selected from the pool of 22 district teachers of the year that have submitted applications and will be announced on May 3. The two county winners will be announced at the 50th-Annual Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year celebration on Thursday, September 22 at Lesher Center in Walnut Creek. To purchase tickets to the presentation or to make a donation to the program, visit

Coordinated by CCCOE, judging in the county competition combines a four-stage selection process with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates. The first stage is a careful screening process of all applications submitted the teachers of the year of each school district of which four finalists are selected. The four finalists are then evaluated in their classrooms by a team of educational professionals and interviewed separately and each will present a three- to five-minute speech in person to a panel of judges. Topics covered in all three stages are teaching philosophies, techniques and personal background. The finalists are also judged on their speech and presentation skills. The judging panels represent the county’s education professionals, business and public-sector partners.

2022-2023 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Nominees:
•  Sarah Frank, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High School
•  Kathleen Brown, Brentwood Union School District, Edna Hill Middle School
•  Bernadette Geer, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary School
•  Christina Carter, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Contra Costa Adult School
•  Maya Nelson, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High School
•  Mackenzie Tovani, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary School
•  Claudia Windfuhr, Lafayette School District, Stanley Middle School
•  Crystal Shaw, Liberty Union High School District, Heritage High School
•  Jamie Nunes, Martinez Unified School District, Las Juntas Elementary School
•  Serina Culleton, Moraga School District, Donald L. Rheem Elementary School
•  Katalina Gallo, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Mt. Diablo High School
•  Natasha Paul, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Mt. Diablo High School
•  Makaela Ann Huntsinger, Pittsburg Unified School District, Pittsburg Senior High School
•  Georgianni Cappelletti, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Tassajara Hills Elementary
•  Chavonta Edington, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Diablo Vista Middle School
•  Paula L. Rathert, Walnut Creek School District, Murwood School
•  Luis F. Chacon, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Richmond High School
•  Nashon Williams, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Lovonya DeJean Middle School
•  Ellen Coatney, Contra Costa County Community College District, Contra Costa College

Notes regarding eligible participants:
• 14 of the 18 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 their 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 but will be recognized at the Contra Costa County Teacher or the Year Celebration.
• Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, Mt. Diablo USD, San Ramon Valley USD and West Contra Costa USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.

For more information on the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year program or to donate, visit Follow the CCCOE on social media at @cocoschools.
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