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Teacher of the Year

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2013-2014 Contra Costa County
District Teacher of the Year Representatives

2013-2014 County
Teachers of the Year

Cindy Eagan

Cindy Egan
San Ramon Valley USD
San Ramon Valley High

Beth Levine

Beth Levine
West Contra Costa USD
Montalvin Manor Elementary


2013-2014 County Teacher of the Year Finalists
Cindy Egan

Cindy Egan
San Ramon Valley USD
San Ramon Valley High

Beth Levine

Beth Levine
West Contra Costa USD
Montalvin Manor Elementary

Carissa Sugden

Carissa Sugden
Mount Diablo USD
El Monte Elementary

Nicholas Zefeldt

Nicholas Zefeldt
San Ramon Valley USD
Live Oak Elementary

Sandy Ball

Sandy Ball
Walnut Creek SD
Parkmead Elementary

Erin Clark

Erin Clark
Antioch USD
Sutter Elementary

Loyd Cornwell

Lloyd Cornwell
Liberty Union High SD
Liberty High

Sherry Diestler

Sherry Diestler
Contra Costa Community
College District

Cooper Howard

Cooper Howard
Lafayette SD
Stanley Middle

Lois Laza

Lois Laza
Knightsen ESD
Knightsen Elementary

Kim Lockett

Kim Lockett
Moraga SD
Joaquin Moraga Int.

Emma Flores

Melanie Long
Oakley Union ESD
Delta Vista Middle

Therese Long

Therese Long
Orinda Union SD
Sleepy Hollow Elementary

Nitra Madra

Nita Madra
Acalanes UHSD
Campolindo High

Steve Marini

Steve Mainini
West Contra Costa USD
Kennedy High

Jennifer Martinez

Jennifer Martinez
CTE/ROP Clinical Medical

Shannon Morton

Shannon Morton
Brentwood Union SD
Brentwood Elementary

Vincent Pitzulo

Vincent Pitzulo
John Swett USD
John Swett High

Shannon Prichard

Shannon Prichard
Mount Diablo USD
Monte Gardens Elementary

Carroll Martin

Jeanne Turner
Byron Union SD
Excelsior Middle


Miranda Beichec-Lingbacoan

Miranda Viechec-Lingbaoan
Pittsburg USD
Heights Elementary

Kitty West

Kitty West
Martinez USD
Las Juntas Elementary

2013-2014 County District Teachers of the Year

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Seventeen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented (plus 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. This year, it is Los Mendanos College's turn. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.)
  • Due to the larger number of students in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to select two TOY candidates. (This year, Mt. Diablo USD only submitted one District TOY.)

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About the Teachers of the Year Program

In 1972, California began recognizing outstanding teachers, establishing the Teachers of the Year Program. This program is open to all teachers in public & private schools who teacher pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. Contra Costa County has participated in the program since its beginning, when Joseph E. Davis, Jr., of the Acalanes Union High School District, was named the county's first representative.

Since that time, four teachers from this county have been State finalists: Janet Neill, San Ramon Valley Unified (1975); David Eakin, John Swett Unified (1981); William Thomas, Mt. Diablo Unified (1982); and Janice Bergamini, Mt. Diablo Unified (1991). In addition, William Pence, San Ramon Valley Unified (1999), was selected to represent California at the National Teacher of the Year level. And, in the last two years, the County has had two other state representatives – Mary Allan, Antioch Unified (2001) and Janet Gower, Mt. Diablo Unified (2002). For a list of all of the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives please click here.

The county's TOY program is directed by the CCCOE. With such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from, the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidate as follows:

I Application Screening:

On April 19, a committee of 13, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners meticulously reviewed the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rated each application. After the application screening and scoring were completed, five teachers were selected to advance to the next phase as semifinalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:

During the upcoming weeks of late April and early May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the semifinalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates, discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques. The results of the two screening processes are then combined to determine the four finalists. (The four finalists will be announced in late May.)

III Speech Presentation:

This coming August, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 26, 2013, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of approximately 400) will be honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects his classroom visits of each teacher during the recent spring and summer months. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in August) to the filled banquet room. The excitement-filled evening will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the 2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year.

The County representative is announced at the Awards Dinner in September at a gala affair that honors each district's Teacher of the Year. Local business and community organizations generously donate classroom grants, services and other items to each of the district winners.

Learn more about donating to the Teacher of the Year program.

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Honor Our Teachers: Donate to the Teachers of the Year Program

There are four major categories or levels for donating to the TOY Program:

  1. Visionaries: $5,000 to $10,000 range
  2. Benefactors: $1,000 to $4,999 range
  3. Sponsors: $500 to $999 range
  4. Contributors: $499 or below in amount or services

Most sponsors earmark their grants for the teachers' classrooms or schools; Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc. sponsors the dinner itself, and the cost of dinner for each of the Teachers of the Year and three of their guests.

For more information, or to donate to the Program, please e-mail Jonathan Lance at

Many thanks to our generous donors who make this program a success!




Contra Costa County Office of Education

Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc.

Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation

Wells Fargo Foundation



Allegro Copy and Print

C. Overaa and Company

California Symphony

Center REP/Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts

George Miller Youth Foundation

KNN Public Finance

Phillips 66

Shell Oil Products U.S./Martinez Refinery

Travis Credit Union

USS POSCO Industries


ACSA Region 6

Broadway Plaza Shopping Center

Dow Chemical Company

Keenan & Associates

Mechanics Bank

Mt. Diablo Recyclying



Brandman University

Capitol Advisors

Val and Patty Castro

Diablo Vista Retired Teachers’ Association

Hilton Concord

Office Depot

Pleasant Hill Florist

Trinity Media, Inc.

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Teacher of the Year Contact
Communications Specialist/Teacher of the Year/Media Relations 925.942.3429
FAX, Communications   925.942.3454

Page updated on: December 20, 2017

Rev: 0.4-010514-BETA4