Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year from Antioch, Brentwood featured at education summit

On Friday, July 29, Contra Costa County educators were well represented as presenters at CSU East Bay, for the second annual Better Together: California Teachers Summit. Opening the program was Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Deputy Superintendent Pamela Comfort, Ed.D. and the county’s current Teachers of the Year Maria McClain (Antioch Unified School District) and Kate Perry (Liberty Union High School District).

The California Teachers Summit is a free statewide day of learning and networking that is open to all California PreK-12 teachers, teacher candidates, school administrators, and other educators. One of 38 locations across the state, CSU East Bay welcomed hundreds of Bay Area teachers to share ideas, join a teacher network, and learn effective strategies for implementing the new California Standards in their classrooms. The Summit featured keynote addresses by education leaders, TED-style EdTalks presented by local teachers, and Edcamp discussions on timely topics such as the California Standards in English/Language Arts and Math, and the Next Generation Science Standards.

In the early afternoon, Perry and McClain, together, presented a stimulating EdTalk session to all the attending educators. The audience was in full attention as the two gave real-life stories on how they learned to reach some of their most challenging students through the years.

“As we celebrate this day of learning, we want to emphasize the essential lessons that our students can teach us, if we take the time to listen and learn,” McClain said. “Lisa and Lisbeth [student examples] made Kate and I better teachers. They taught us that we must meet students where they are, not where we expect them to be, and then work to support and guide them. We must broaden our focus beyond content acquisition and understand that achievement for all students can only occur once their primary needs are met. California’s new standards represent significant changes in educational content and practice. Successful implementation requires both students and teachers to stretch outside their comfort zones, take risks, and embrace new ideas. As we work to adjust our course content and teaching practices, we must also focus on building classroom environments that are safe, welcoming, and truly value all students.”

Perry also offered her comments.

“Now we know how complicated teaching is, and the many daily pressures that face us all,” she said. “And in the face of these we have both learned that the key to staying in the profession is our connection to our students and colleagues. So, if you take nothing else away from us, today, please remember, listen to your students, listen to your fellow teachers, and find mentors like Maria – people who will listen, support, and challenge you. We all – teachers, students, parents, and administrators – have so much to learn and share with one another and that only happens when we open ourselves to the people around us and really hear what they have to say.”

In addition to, CSU East Bay, Summit locations in the Bay Area include:

  • Brandman University, Walnut Creek
  • St. Mary’s College of California
  • CSU Monterey Bay
  • San Francisco State University
  • Sonoma State University

More information, a list of event locations, and online registration is available at Follow #CATeachersSummit for up-to-date information.


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