Walnut Creek School District 2019-20 Teacher of the Year Receives Special Visit

Walnut Creek School District 2019-20 Teacher of the Year Receives Special Visit
Posted on 06/05/2019

WALNUT CREEK, Calif., May 30, 2019 – Recently, Jana Palmquist’s English class at Walnut Creek Intermediate School, in Walnut Creek, received a visit from Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey. Currently teaching 7th grade Core English and history, Palmquist has been an instructor for the Walnut Creek School District for 14 years. This past March, the Colorado native was named by the Walnut Creek School District as their Teacher of the Year (TOY).

Throughout the school year, Superintendent Mackey makes it a point to visit each incoming TOY in their classrooms, before they are all honored at the renowned annual Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year Gala Dinner. This is a great way for her to meet the teachers and their students, as well as take in the day’s lesson plan.

On the evening of September 26, 2019, the 22 Contra Costa County TOYs, class of 2019-20, including Palmquist, will be introduced and honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Gala Dinner, held at the Hilton Concord. The 22 TOYs will be accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers. The expected crowd of close to 500 will also include numerous other supporters of the program. For more information about this year’s CCCOE TOY Program, please review this earlier-sent news release.

“I had Jana as my seventh-grade Core teacher, during her first year teaching full time at Walnut Creek Intermediate,” recalls former student and current teaching colleague Katie Shaffer. “This was a year I will never forget. Her warmth, humor, and honesty struck a chord with me as a student. She brought life, laughter, and light into the classroom. She had a way of talking to you as a student, where you became wrapped up in what she was teaching you and sharing with you. Jana provided honest and practical strategies that I held on to and shifted my thinking. Some of those strategies are ones I have repeated to my own students some ten years later.”

Shaffer resumes, “In 2014, my path intersected with Jana’s again, this time as a colleague at my alma-mater, Walnut Creek Intermediate. This was my first year as a teacher, and Jana completely took me under her wing. Not only was she my BTSA mentor, she was also the person I could go to on the days when things didn’t go as planned, or when I wanted to share a success. Once again Jana gave me strategies, this time for improving my teaching practice. She taught me how to focus on teaching the readers, not the reading. She taught me how to take social studies from just textbook reading into rigorous big-picture thinking. She showed me how to talk to middle schoolers and get them to feel a part of a community. Not only have I benefited from Jana’s wisdom and care, but my students have as well!”

Currently, there are approximately 8,637 teachers educating nearly 178,000 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county named their TOY representatives in mid-March.

The incoming 22 TOYs represent 17 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Most of these representatives, those who teach grades TK-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.

Note regarding eligible participants:

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: #cocotoy

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