West Contra Costa Unified School District 19-20 Teacher of the Year Receives Special Visit

West Contra Costa Unified School District 2019-20 Teacher of the Year Receives Special Visit
Posted on 05/28/2019

PINOLE, Calif., May 24, 2019 – Recently, Dan O’Shea’s health-science classroom at Pinole Valley High School received a visit from Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey. The 33-year instructor has been teaching health science and physical education at Pinole Valley since 1989. O’Shea began his career teaching three years of physical education a Portola Middle School. This past March, the Daily City, California, native was named by the West Contra Costa Unified 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 O’Shea, 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 first met Mr. O’Shea about 12 years ago when I was a sophomore in his biology class at Pinole Valley High School,” recalls former student and current Yuba City Unified School District music teacher Michael Mann. “I remember how excited I was to attend his class every day. He inspired me to learn and perform to the best of my abilities. Although very challenging, his class was fun because Mr. O’Shea had the distinct and rare ability to get students as excited about biology as he was. He cultivated a level of respect that made all students want to be in his classroom.”

Mann continues, “After college, I began substitute teaching and coaching high school baseball in the West Contra Unified School District. I was considering becoming a teacher myself, so in addition to occasionally subbing for him, Mr. O’Shea let me come into his classroom to observe lessons and discuss various strategies about teaching and coaching. He often told me that I could be a great teacher, and he helped me develop the skills and demeanor that are necessary to be one. He willingly sacrificed a lot of lunches and prep periods to mentor me. His mentorship has been paramount to my life and profession. And to this day, he continues to be one phone call away when I need advice. Undoubtedly, I always strive to be as powerful of a teacher and mentor to others as Dan O’Shea has been to me.”

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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