Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Sutter Elementary teacher Vicki McGuire, is Antioch Unified School District’s 2016-17 Teacher of the Year

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Contra Costa County’s school districts announce their 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year

There are currently, approximately 8,401 teachers educating more than 174,800 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 recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives. (See list below.)

The upcoming school year’s 21 TOYs represent 16 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 K thru 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.

“We are immensely proud of these amazing educators,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “They were thoughtfully chosen to represent their schools and districts, and truly represent what is best about public education.”

Now in her 30th year of teaching, McGuire began her career in 1985.  She taught in the Oakland Unified School District for seven years, then moved to Antioch, where she’s been teaching for the past 23 years.  Most of them have been spent at Sutter Elementary, but she did work at John Muir Elementary for five years.

McGuire received a Bachelor’s Degree from Ohio State University and her Master’s Degree from Cal State Hayward (now East Bay).

“I am currently taking classes at Los Medanos College because I believe in life-long learning,” she said. “I enjoy getting to build meaningful relationships with my students and their families.  In some cases, all of the children in a family have come through my classroom.  As a member of the community, I like seeing students and former students outside the school setting at sporting events or around town.”

“I believe in educating the whole child, by helping them grow socially, as well as academically,” McGuire added.

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 candidates as follows:

I Application Screening:

On April 8, a committee of 15 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners will carefully review 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.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:

In April and May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners observe the four finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.

III Speech Presentation:

On August 15, 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 22, 2016, all 21 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of close to 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Ms. Sakata, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects her 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 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

Vicki McGuire, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter Elementary, Fifth Grade

Jamie Cackler Bennetts, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Cynthia Boyko, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High

Rachael Byron, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High

Krystal Figaroa, Pittsburg Unified School District, Stoneman Elementary

Erin Flanigan, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Daniel Yoshio Haley, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, El Dorado Middle

Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Valley View Middle

Judy Jernigan, Lafayette School District, Lafayette SD Schools

Kristyn Loy, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Stewart Elementary

Judy Mazur, Walnut Creek School District, Buena Vista Elementary

Aminta Mickles, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College

Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary

Dayle Okamitsu, Orinda Union School District, Wagner Ranch Elementary

Lawrence Pang, West Contra Costa Unified School District, El Cerrito High

Deborah Guillén Rocchild, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High

Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High

Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Creekside Elementary

Juliet Simens, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elementary

Angela Taylor, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Parole Education Program Oakland Computerized Literacy Learning Center

Sarah Vieira, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Sixteen 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 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: #CoCoTOY

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Antioch resident earns degree with double major from University of Wyoming

Friday, April 1st, 2016
Boyland jersey

Boyland with his Wyoming Cowboys jersey, from his Facebook page. published with permission.

The University of Wyoming announced it has accorded a Bachelor of Arts degree upon Antioch resident Troy Lamonte Boyland, Jr. at the completion of the 2015 fall semester.

Boyland was a double major in both criminal justice and social sciences, and played offensive guard on the Wyoming Cowboys football team on a full scholarship. He is originally from San Francisco, but has been living in Antioch for the past three years.

The University of Wyoming provides quality undergraduate and graduate programs to 13,800 students from all 50 states and 94 countries. Established in 1886, UW is a nationally recognized research institution with accomplished faculty and world class facilities. Offering 200 areas of study, UW provides an environment for success. A low student faculty ratio allows for individual instruction and attention, and undergraduates often participate in cutting edge research projects.

For more information about the University of Wyoming, visit

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Diane Burgis receives Women Improving the Environment Award from the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Diane Burgis, a trustee on the East Bay Regional Parks District Board and Executive Director of Friends of the Marsh Creek Watershed received the Women Improving the Environment Award from the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame, Tuesday night in Concord.

The Board of Supervisors established the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame in October 1997 to acknowledge those exceptional, multifaceted women who have enhanced life in Contra Costa County through their careers and volunteer activities.

The honorees have made a difference through their efforts towards equity, innovation, service or achievement in commerce or community outreach.

Burgis was nominated by Susan Morgan, a Director on the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board.  “Through Diane Burgis’ leadership as Executive Director of the Friends of the Marsh Creek Watershed, the protection of natural resources including creeks, water quality and open space has become a priority to our community and its leaders,” said Morgan.  “Much of Diane’s work has been funded part time and she was able to accomplish great things for our environment and the Watershed by working beyond her paid hours and by recruiting and encouraging support from volunteers in the community.”

Marsh Creek is one of the fastest urbanizing watersheds in California, and the creek flows for 30 miles through the rapidly growing communities of Brentwood, Oakley and Antioch in eastern Contra Costa County and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the many volunteers who contribute their time and talent to protecting, conserving and restoring the Marsh Creek Watershed,” said Burgis.

Burgis is a candidate for County Supervisor in District 3 in the June election. This is the second honor for her since she entered the race.

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Antioch resident, Gloria Martin, honored as 11th Assembly District 2016 Woman of the Year, at State Capitol, Monday

Monday, March 14th, 2016
2016 AD 11 Woman of the Year Gloria Martin holds her resolution on the floor of the Assembly, accompanied by Assemblymembers, from left,  Chad Mayes (Minority Leader), Cristina Garcia (Women’s Caucus Vice Chair), Speaker Anthony Rendon and Jim Frazier.

2016 AD 11 Woman of the Year Gloria Martin holds her resolution on the floor of the Assembly, accompanied by Assemblymembers, from left, Chad Mayes (Minority Leader), Cristina Garcia (Women’s Caucus Vice Chair), Speaker Anthony Rendon and Jim Frazier.

Sacramento, CA – Today, Monday, March 14, 2016, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) honored Gloria Martin on the Assembly Floor as his 2016 Woman of the Year for the 11th Assembly District. Martin, a lifelong resident of Antioch, has quietly given back to her community through philanthropic support by way of the Martin Family Foundation and devoting countless volunteer hours throughout the community.

Gloria Martin and Jim Frazier 2“It is such an unexpected honor to be recognized for this award,” said Martin. “I would not be able to accomplish this great work without the help of all the other wonderful volunteers in our community.”

Martin developed her community spirit at a young age while attending Antioch schools, including Fremont Elementary, Antioch Junior High School and Antioch High School. She has since spent countless hours supporting children in the community. For over ten years she has been an active board member of the Antioch Schools Education Foundation. During this time she chaired the Fellows Award dinner honoring Antioch’s outstanding teachers and raised money to improve school classrooms through various grants.

In addition to her philanthropic work through local schools, Martin is a proud Rotarian with twenty years of perfect attendance and holding the office of Sergeant at Arms for many years. Martin is also an active member of the Holy Rosary church, Pittsburg Elks Club, Antioch Woman’s Club, Antioch Chamber of Commerce, and Umpqua Bank Advisory Board.

Marin regularly volunteers her time to support her community by participating in red ribbon week, various food banks, the Antioch Senior Center and the Antioch Historical Society. She also supports dozens of other nonprofits, including An Elderly Wish Foundation, the Police Activities League, Antioch High School, East County Boys & Girls Club, Leo Fontana Family Foundation, with a special place in her heart for the REACH Project.

“By selflessly dedicating her life to supporting her community, Gloria is the type of person we all wish to have in our lives,” said Frazier. “She truly lives the Rotary motto of ‘Service above Self’ and I am honored to name her my 2016 Woman of the Year for the 11th Assembly District.”

Frazier honored Martin in a ceremony this afternoon at the California State Capitol with an Assembly Resolution naming her an exemplary California woman.

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Career Antioch Police officer, Captain Leonard Orman retires

Friday, March 11th, 2016
Retired Antioch Police Captain Leonard Orman walks out of the Antioch Police Facility on his final day, past fellow officers and staff. photo courtesy of APD

Retired Antioch Police Captain Leonard Orman walks out of the Antioch Police Facility on his final day, past fellow officers and staff. photo courtesy of APD

By Allen Payton

On December 14, 2015 after 30 years and six months with the Antioch Police Department, Captain Leonard Orman retired and the next day was given a farewell by fellow officers, APD staff and Police Chief Allan Cantando.

Born in Antioch, Orman worked at Silveira Lumber in during high school and while attending Los Medanos College. That’s when he got hired by the APD. He later completed his bachelor’s at St. Mary’s College in 1998.

Orman receives a big, farewell hug from longtime friend and fellow officer, Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando. photo courtesy of APD

Orman receives a big, farewell hug from longtime friend and fellow officer, Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando. photo courtesy of APD

When asked what was his most memorable case, he shared, “Probably the Scott Duval murder case, who killed his wife and said she was a missing person.”

“It was a lot of legwork and strategy because he was a highly intelligent guy,” Orman stated. “We finally got him to confess that he had killed his wife, cut her up and spread her around the Delta. It’s one of those cases you feel good about solving, with a true victim.”

Asked about his favorite memory, Orman spoke about the department.

“Above and beyond the police work and working cases, having been there on the command staff during the recession, which was really tough. The whole community suffered from that,” he said. “What people don’t recognize is a lot of organizations tend to implode during something like that. I’m really proud of the fact that didn’t happen. Lots of people left but, most hung in there, working overtime, including records, dispatch, management. There was nobody who wasn’t suffering. I wasn’t sure how much longer we could sustain that. Things are much better, now.”

“We did a ton of succession planning during that time,” Orman continued. “It was a group effort and the reality is that the day after I left, Diane Aguinaga got promoted. That usually doesn’t happen that smoothly. To leave like that and have it be fluid, that was the leadership, across the board. I left there with a smile on my face, feeling good with where the organization was. That was what made me feel the best.”

He served under five police chiefs.

“I will say that they were all great chiefs in their time. Antioch’s been really fortunate. To have chiefs who stay five years or longer is pretty good. It’s a lot of stability.”

He’s married with three children and when asked what he’s doing with all his free time, he said “I’m taking some time off. Doing a lot of traveling. More than my wife is used to, with her and our children. But, I plan on going back to work on some level.”

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Jaycee Dugard to release her second book, about her life after release from captivity in Antioch

Friday, March 4th, 2016

In July, Simon & Schuster will publish Freedom: My Book of Firsts, a memoir by Jaycee Lee Dugard, the bestselling author of A Stolen Life, whose widely acclaimed account of being kidnapped at age 11 and remaining a prisoner for 18 years, just outside of the city limits of Antioch, became an international bestseller in 2011, selling over 1.5 million copies in the United States alone.

The kidnapping of Ms. Dugard occurred on June 10, 1991 in South Lake Tahoe, California, as she was walking from her home to her school bus stop. She was 11-years-old at the time.  She remained missing for 18 years, until 2009, when her captor, a convicted sex offender, was arrested.

In her new book, Ms. Dugard will tell the story of her first experiences after years in captivity: the joys that accompanied her newfound freedom and the challenges of adjusting to life on her own. “There is life after something tragic happens,” Ms. Dugard said. “Life doesn’t have to end if you don’t want it to. It’s all in how you look at it. Somehow, I still believe that we each hold the key to our own happiness and you have to grab it where you can in whatever form it might take.”

“Jaycee Dugard is a remarkable woman,” said Jonathan Karp, publisher of Simon & Schuster. “Her strength has been an inspiration to millions, and her story is a remarkable example of resilience and spirit.  Readers of this book will gain a new appreciation of how joyful freedom can be.”

The work will be published on July 12, on the fifth anniversary of the publication of A Stolen Life, in hardcover, ebook, and audio editions by Simon & Schuster in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and India.  Jaycee Lee Dugard was represented by Morton Janklow of Janklow & Nesbit Associates and Nancy Seltzer of Nancy Seltzer & Associates.

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Retired CHP Officer Dick August of Antioch to be honored, Friday for heroism in 1977

Thursday, January 28th, 2016
Dick Augusta, left with fellow co-founder Andy O'Hara of the Badge of Life Police Suicide Group.

Dick Augusta, left with fellow co-founder Andy O’Hara of the Badge of Life Police Suicide Group.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier and members of the California Highway Patrol, and Warriors Watch Riders will be honoring Officer Augusta during a ceremony in Martinez, on Friday, January 29, 2016 at the Contra Costa Area Office. Other riders are invited to participate in the escort.

Following is the incident that led to him being honored:

On May 29, 1977 at 1:30 a.m., CHP Officer Dick Augusta was on routine patrol in Contra Costa County, on Sellers Avenue, near Cypress Road when a car began weaving across the center line past his patrol vehicle.  Officer Augusta made a U-turn and followed the vehicle to conduct an enforcement stop, when the suspect vehicle suddenly turned onto a side street and came to an abrupt stop.  Augusta and his partner, Officer Darrell Todd, exited their police cruiser and approached the car.  As Officer Augusta walked to meet the female driver of the vehicle, the woman exited her vehicle and walked toward him, and returned back to her car to obtain her driver license.  Augusta followed behind.  It was at that moment he noticed the vehicle had two male passengers still inside.  Officer Todd stood at the passenger side of the vehicle as Officer Augusta talked with the driver.

As Officer Augusta spoke with the woman, one of the men exited the back of the vehicle and rested a handgun on the door ledge.  The gunman cursed at Officer Augusta and fired two shots from close range at him.  One shot missed completely; however, the other hit Officer Augusta’s left side and he fell onto the pavement. Bullet proof vests were not worn by CHP officers in those days and the bullet punctured his left kidney and struck near his spinal cord.

On the ground Officer Augusta struggled.  His uniform was torn in the knee and his hand was badly cut.  When he fell to the ground he landed just behind the gunman, who ignored the wounded officer and began firing at Officer Todd.

Officer Todd and the gunman exchanged a few shots and then the gunman got back into the vehicle. Officer Augusta fired three shots at the vehicle striking it in

the rear door where the gunman had reentered the vehicle.  The driver got back in the vehicle and accelerated forward.  Officer Augusta fired a shot toward the driver side and one toward the front of the vehicle as it sped off.

The exchange of gunfire lasted only 15 seconds.  Officer Augusta realized he was in bad shape and pulled himself into the patrol car and propped up his feet on the door in an effort to keep himself from going into shock.  Officer Todd radioed for emergency assistance and Officer Augusta was rushed by ambulance to a hospital in Antioch, where a Catholic Priest administered last rites prior to surgery.

The last rites turned out to be premature.  Officer Augusta recovered; however, was forced to medically retire due to his permanent injuries.  The suspects were eventually caught after committing a bank robbery in Bakersfield, California.   The gunman was found guilty of attempted murder on a police officer and he served 15 years in prison as a result of his conviction.

Dick Augusta is also a co-founder of the Badge of Life non-profit organization.  The cornerstone of the Badge of Life program is an entirely new approach to suicide prevention, called the “Emotional Self-Care Program” (ESC). They are a group of active and retired police officers, medical professionals, and surviving families of suicides from the United States and Canada. He served as a member of the Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commission.

It’s been nearly 40 years since that incident and Officer Augusta is finally going to receive some long overdue recognition for his service and sacrifice to our State and our community.

The Warriors’ Watch Riders have been invited to help escort Officer Augusta from his home to a long overdue recognition of his sacrifice in the name of our community by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, and would like extend an invitation to all Military Support Organizations and their members to attend the above mission.

When: Friday January 29th, 2016

Staging Time: 1145 ( 11:45 AM)

Staging Area: Starbucks 1896 A St, Antioch, CA 94531

Briefing: 1200 ( 12:00 PM)

KSU: 1215 ( 12:15 PM)

Destination: Pickup and Recognition Ceremony

Road Captain: Matthew Boggs, 925-765-0785,

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The holiday spirit of giving showcased at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

CLAYTON, Calif., November 19, 2015 – For the 24th straight year, a number of representatives from Contra Costa County non-profit agencies were on hand Thursday at the annual Marsh Creek Detention Facility’s Toy Show to fulfill their kids’ Christmas wish lists. The representatives were able to choose from numerous newly handcrafted toys and bicycles refurbished by the facility’s inmates. These gifts are given to the children who are being served by these agencies during the upcoming holidays.

Along with the many displayed toys and bikes, the inmates decorated the Marsh Creek Detention Facility’s workshop to look like Santa’s own. Joining the non-profit-agency representatives were Contra Costa County’s Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata and Sheriff David Livingston, as well as numerous representatives from both agencies to celebrate this longtime agency partnership that benefits the community.

Both Superintendent Sakata and Sheriff Livingston gave their thoughts to the many attendees about the extremely successful partnership of the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s (CCCOE) accredited shop classes being taught in a Contra Costa County Jail. “We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful agency collaboration that brings such value to our county,” said Superintendent Sakata. “With this project, these adult students will certainly bring a brighter Holiday Season to many children throughout our community.”

A small group of Marsh Creek Detention Facility inmates have been working on this project since the workshop re-opened in early October. They have been extremely busy fixing up used bikes to look and ride like brand new, and crafting colorful and beautiful wooden toys, such as, ball and cup games, spinning carousels, cars, doll houses, baby cradles, toy tractors, train sets, and more. All of the toy makers and/or bike mechanics are students in the Contra Costa Adult School, an accredited school directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), located within the detention facility.
CCCOE’s woodshop teacher Paul Turner hit the ground running, directing this project, soon after being hired on September 28. “On October 7, we opened the doors to the woodshop and bike shop,” said Turner, “It was like going into someone’s garage,” he laughed. “We had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time, but luckily my small group of students had plenty of skills to produce more than 400 toys and refurbish 170 bikes by the time this event rolled around. I’m very proud of how hard they worked on this project.”

Non-profit organizations participating in this special event included: Bay Area Rescue Mission, Brighter Beginnings, Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program, El Cerrito Fire Department, Shelter Inc., The Salvation Army-Antioch Corps, Ujima Family Recovery Services/La Casa, and VESTIA.


During the 2014-15 school year, approximately 2,343 adult inmates (throughout the three Contra Costa detention facilities) were enrolled in classes ranging from academic programs, including basic literacy and GED preparation, to vocational programs, including woodshop, construction, and state-of-the-art computer training. By the end of the school year, 17 student-inmates received their GED and 23 received a high school diploma, and 34 students passed the California High School Exit Exam. In addition, there were 207 students who demonstrated learning gains in reading or math, and 122 students earned a certificate of completion in computer applications. Another course directed by the CCCOE is the DEUCE Program (Deciding, Educating, Understanding, Counseling, and Evaluation).

These three-part classes (90 days) focus on substance abuse prevention. Last year, 708 students completed at least one of the three phases, and 146 students graduated from DEUCE. The Parenting Inside/Out class teaches vital parenting skills to women and men, with 57 certificates issued last school year. Last year, the CCCOE opened a new re-entry class at the West County Detention Facility. The re-entry class offers workforce readiness, career exploration, soft skills workshops, and a nine-week cognitive-behavior-change program called Transitions. Currently, 46 inmates are enrolled in the re-entry course.

These classes help to provide education and skills needed for successful transition back into the community.

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