Walnut Creek School District 2018-19 Teacher of the Year Receives Special Visit

Walnut Creek School District 2018-19 Teacher of the Year Receives Special Visit
Posted on 06/08/2018
Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, Walnut Creek School District Teacher of the Year Bonnie Ha, Buena Vista Elementary Principal Kelly Eagan

WALNUT CREEK, Calif., June 8, 2018 – Recently, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata visited Bonnie Ha’s classroom, at Buena Vista Elementary School, in Walnut Creek. Finishing up her eighth year of teaching fourth-grade general subjects at Buena Vista Elementary, Ha was chosen as Walnut Creek School District’s (WCSD) Teacher of the Year (TOY), in early March. Though, she’s somewhat a newbie of a teacher, the successful instructor goes back a bit further with the WCSD; this is the same school district she grew up in.

“Bonnie Ha’s relationships with her students are remarkable,” says WCSD Instructional Coach Julie Ellis. She spends the time to get to know each student, beyond the surface level. She creates true relationships that make students feel safe and comfortable, known and understood, and ready to learn. They joke together, they talk to her, they trust and believe in her because she treats them as individuals and not just as kids in her room.”

Ellis continues, “Bonnie finds positive qualities in every student, celebrates them, honors them, and then teaches them. She embraces “difficult” students and finds ways to connect to them, and in turn, they find ways to work a little harder for her. Relationships and collaboration may be Bonnie’s greatest gifts.  Everybody loves to work with her. Grade-level colleagues, like myself, are blessed with her positive nature and endless energy.”

On the evening of September 27, 2018, the 22 Contra Costa County TOYs, class of 2018-19, including Bonnie Ha, will be introduced and honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Gala, held at the Concord Hilton. 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.

Throughout the school year, Superintendent Sakata makes it a point to visit each incoming TOY in their classrooms, prior to the Dinner Gala. This is a great way for her to meet the teachers and their students, as well as take in the day’s lesson plan. When individually introducing the TOYs at the Dinner Gala, a short video presentation (recorded at each TOY classroom visit) will feature a quote from students about their revered teacher.

Currently, there are approximately 8,400 teachers educating more than 177,000 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:

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 Los Medanos 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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