MDUSD, MUSD, WCSD, CCCCD Announce “Teacher of the Year” Representatives

April 9, 2014 19:42 pm · 11 comments

Congratulations to the “Teacher of the Year” (TOY) representatives in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Martinez Unified School District, Walnut Creek School District and the Contra Costa County Community College District.

“Once again, we have a tremendous group of teachers who have earned their school districts’ highest accolades, due to their talents, work ethic, and dedication. These honored educators not only represent their individual schools and school districts, but also embody all of the exceptional teachers we are so fortunate to have in our county,” said Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph A. Ovick.

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

  • Patrick Leong, Contra Costa County College District, Diablo Valley College
  • Gail Robles, Walnut Creek School District, Parkmead Elementary
  • Stephen Slater, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Wren Avenue Elementary
  • Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High
  • Kathleen Young, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Highlands Elementary

Due to the larger number of students in their district, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District is allowed to submit two TOY candidates.

The county’s TOY program is directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (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 candidates as follows:

1. Application Screening:
On April 4, a committee of 14 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners carefully reviewed the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rates each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers will be selected to advance to the next two phases as finalists.

2. Classroom Observation and Interview:
During the weeks of late April and mid May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.

3. Speech Presentation:
On August 11, 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 11, 2014, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of more than 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County TOY Dinner Celebration, held at the Concord Hilton.

Dr. Ovick, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects his classroom visits of each teacher during the current 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.

Finally, the night will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

Irony April 9, 2014 at 10:47 PM

So ironically the county even acknowledges that the MSUSD is SO BIG that it is allowed to have two TOY candidates. Yet for some reason, they fail to acknowledge that because the MDUSD is SO BIG, it is failing our children!!! Break up this oversized district! Enough already—Concord alone should be its own district. Why is this rocket science for these highly paid administrators to figure out???

Oh, and congratulations to all the teachers, even the ones who were not nominated. Teachers are short on pay and recognition. They deserve much admiration.

Acalanes? April 9, 2014 at 10:51 PM

What about the Acalanes school district? Las Lomas High in Walnut Creek (and a few other WC schools) is a part of it –

Bill Houston April 10, 2014 at 1:36 AM

It’s the politics

Lanny April 10, 2014 at 5:40 AM

How about NOT complaining about the MDUSD for just a brief moment to recognize the teachers listed here? These professionals REPRESENT the high level of teaching that is happening in many classrooms around the country…yes, even in this district.

Enough of the griping. Can we just be positive for a short moment here?

Rusty April 10, 2014 at 6:31 AM

I hope Steve Slater wins, he is a great teacher!

Hillary April 10, 2014 at 7:18 AM

It’s always the politics

Hey Lanny, wake up! April 10, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Obviously you do not have children in the MDUSD otherwise you would be crying out for change too! If we do not speak out about this district’s size and practices whenever we can, our children will continue to suffer. So I applaud those demanding change. The teachers are suffering too, don’t you get it?? Look at this headline in the Times yesterday:

“Mt. Diablo trustees to approve administrator raises, classified employee layoffs

CONCORD — The Mt. Diablo school board on Wednesday expects to approve nearly $1.2 million in administrator raises and bonuses, mirroring increases to teachers and other union members.

The deal provides an ongoing 3 percent raise along with a one-time 2 percent bonus retroactive to July 31. Staff recommends including the Chief Financial Officer and assistant superintendents in the deal, even though they are contract employees.

The board also expects to increase its budget for outside lawyers by $460,000 and to approve layoffs for 27 instructional assistants and other non-certificated positions due to the loss of funding for the positions.

The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive. Information is at 925-682-8000 ext. 4000 or”

So are we supposed to just accept this? Speak out!

Once a Highlands Elementary Mom April 10, 2014 at 2:48 PM

CONGRATULATIONS KATHY YOUNG! My son had the privilege of being in her class for 4th and 5th grade year!

I also agree Lanny

DEBRA Barr April 10, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Kathy you’ve always been a winner in my heart. Love you and congratulations

Peggert April 10, 2014 at 10:02 PM

Go Steve Slater!!!!! He’s the best teacher I have seen in a long time!!!!!!

Lanny April 10, 2014 at 11:33 PM

I agree that we need to speak up, and to promote change. That’s why I have been active in this district for 20 years. My FOUR kids deserve that. But I know this: my kids have incredible teachers that shouldn’t have to hear griping and complaining about their under appreciated work ALL THE TIME. My point was to allow these teachers, who are being recognized for their dedication and achievement, be allowed a short time eithout so much complaining.

The budget is a complicated issue, and not as simple as it appears. Case in point: the csea union has a pending tentative agreement right now that will give them a raise too….AND layoffs at the same time. It doesn’t make much sense, but that’s what’s going on.

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