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Teacher of the Year

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2015-2016 Contra Costa County
District Teacher of the Year Representatives

2015-2016 County
Teachers of the Year

Maria McClain

Maria McClain
Antioch Unified SD
Deer Valley High

Kate Perry

Kate Perry
Liberty Union High SD
Independence High


2015-2016 County Teacher of the Year Finalists

Paul Fitzgerald

Paul Fitzgerald
Acalanes Union High SD
Miramonte High

Dawn Foote

Dawn Foote
Brentwood Union SD
Ron Nunn Elementary

Maria McClain

Maria McClain
Antioch Unified SD
Deer Valley High

Kate Perry

Kate Perry
Liberty Union High SD
Independence High

Michele Bain

Michele Bain
Knightsen Elementary SD
Knightsen Elementary

Lourdes Beleche

Lourdes Beleche
Mt. Diablo Unified SD
Cambridge Elementary

Kathleen Doerr

Kathleen Doerr
John Swett Unified SD
Carquinez Middle

David Giordano

David Giordano, IV
Mt. Diablo Unified SD
Olympic High

Sripriya Gopalan

Sripriya Gopalan
San Ramon Valley
Unified SD
Live Oak Elementary

Debbie Henry

Debbie Henry
Oakley Union SD
Almond Grove Elementary

Diane Klaczynski

Vickie Hilty
Orinda Union SD
Sleepy Hollow Elementary

Diane Klaczynski

Diane Klaczynski
Pittsburg Unified SD
Hillview Junior High

Georgeann Kurtz

Georgeann Kurtz
San Ramon Valley
Unified SD
Gale Ranch Middle

Maribel Lopez

Maribel Lopez
West Contra Costa
Unified SD
Dover Elementary

Juanita McSweeney

Juanita McSweeney
Lafayette SD
Happy Valley Elementary

Takeo Nobori

Takeo Nobori
Byron Union SD
Excelsior Middle

Laurel Patterson

Laurel Patterson
Marchus School

Don Read

Don Read
Moraga SD
Joaquin Moraga Intermediate

Christina Schreiber

Christina Schreiber
Martinez Unified SD
Martinez Junior High

Shauna Tatum

Shauna Tatum
Walnut Creek SD
Walnut Heights Elementary


Keith Valdez

Keith Valdez
West Contra Costa Unified SD
Hanna Ranch Elementary

Michael Yeong

Michael Yeong
Contra Costa Community College District
Los Medanos College

2015-2016 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 Medanos 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.

CCTV will broadcast the Awards Dinner:

  • Sunday, October 18 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 21 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Friday, October 23 at 11:00 a.m.
  • Sunday, October 25 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 28 at 1:00 p.m.

CCTV is Comcast channel 27, and AT&T U-verse channel 99 (Wave customers – channel 32)
More broadcast information can be found at

Teacher of the Year Awards Dinner VideoyouTube logo

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2015-16 Teacher of the Year Selection Committee

Damian Alacon, Travis Credit Union

Hon. Steve Austin, Contra Costa County Superior Court

Evelyn Bachelor, Brandman University

Tom Barnidge, Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc.

Daniel Cabral, Contra Costa Co. District Attorney's Office

Fire Chief Jeff Carmen, Contra Costa County
Fire Protection District

Pete Crooks, Diablo magazine

Hilary Dito, Contra Costa County Office of Education

Luke Ellis, G.J.E.L. Accident Attorneys

Hon. Jill Fannin, Contra Costa County Superior Court

Karl Fischer, Contra Costa Health Services

Lori Herington, Comcast

Mary Knox, Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office


Robin Lipetzky, Contra Costa Co. Office of the Public Defender

Aimee Lohr, Philips 66

Maria McCullough, Pittsburg Unified School District (ret.)

Dr. Diane Mukerjee, California State University, East Bay

Dr. Heidi Rambo, St. Mary's College

Nicole Rigg, Chevron USA, Inc.

Vera Rowsey, West Contra Costa Retired Teachers' Assoc.

Matthew Schuler , Contra Costa Co. Office of the Sheriff

Marsha Tokuyoshi, Contra Costa Co. Office of Education

Nancy Vandel, 32nd PTA

Michael Wasilchin, West Contra Costa Unified School District

Erica Williams, Contra Costa Co. Schools Insurance Group

Susan Yamashita, Lafayette School District (ret)

About the Teacher 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 March 20, 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 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.

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 24, 2015, 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 Karen Sakata, 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 2015-2016 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 made our program a success!

Chevron, Title Sponsor



Contra Costa County Office of Education

Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc.

Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation

Saint Mary's College of California,
Kalmanovitz School of Education



Allegro Copy and Print

C. Overaa and Company

Center REP/Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts

Contra Costa County Special Districts Association

Fagen, Friedman and Fulfrost, LLP

Gillin Jacobson, Ellis, Larsen and Lucey
Accient Attorneys

The Oakland A's

Phillips 66

Pleasant Hill Rotary Foundation

Travis Credit Union

USS POSCO Industries


ACSA Region 6

Broadway Plaza Shopping Center

Cole Supply Company, Inc.

Contra Costa Federal Credit Union

Dannis, Woliver and Kelley Attorneys at Law

Denalect Alarm

Keenan & Associates

Mechanics Bank

O'Conner, Runkle, & O'Malley, LLP

Office Depot

Gary Sloan and Barbara Komas

Susan Stuart/Capitol Advisors



Brandman University

Hein Lighting & Electric, Inc.

Hilton Concord

Mike & Shari Maxwell

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