Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year for 2016-2017 to be announced at dinner, Thursday

2015-16 honoree, Deer Valley High School math teacher, Maria McClain will speak about her year

Vicki McGuire, teacher at Antioch’s Sutter Elementary, is this year’s representative from AUSD

Contra Costa County’s two 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year (TOY) will be announced at the annual TOY Dinner Celebration, held this Thursday evening, September 22. Two of the four finalists will go on to represent Contra Costa County in the California State Teacher of the Year Program. The county TOY program is presented by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).

More than 400 attendees will be on hand for the dinner, which will be held from  6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Hilton Concord Hotel. The assembly will include the 21 celebrated TOYs, plus numerous educators (K-college), business executives (sponsors), local government, and local political representatives. The evening’s entertainment will be provided by the Hillview Junior High (Pittsburg) Jazz Band, directed by Diane Klaczynski. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata will serve as master of ceremonies. Each of the three finalists, who will be introduced by a former student, will give an inspiring five-minute speech.  (The same speech as they gave at the TOY Speech Presentation in late August.) The evening will conclude in excitement and anticipation, with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

After being named Teacher of the Year by their respective Contra Costa County school districts, then passing a rigorous application screening, followed by a panel classroom observation and interview, and concluding with a speech presentation, two of these four finalists will be selected to represent Contra Costa County as its 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year:

This year’s two Contra Costa County TOYs will join the long list of other finalists, dating back to the 1972-1973 school year. Along with the four finalists, this year’s other 17 TOY candidates will also be honored at this event (for complete list below).


Shauna Hawes teaches computer applications/technology to grades 6-8 at Valley View Middle School, in Pleasant Hill. The 18-year teacher has been with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District during her entire teaching career. Prior to her current position, Hawes taught 6th grade core (English, history, and reading) at Valley View. Before coming to Valley View, she taught 5th grade (all subjects) at Hidden Valley Elementary, in Martinez, from 1998-2007.

Gina Minder-Maldonado has recently begun her 26th year of teaching. For the past 18 years, Minder-Maldonado has taught at Oakley Elementary School, in Oakley. Currently teaching 2nd grade, Minder-Maldonado’s former teaching experience includes preschool through 5th, as well as adult education.

Summer Rodriguez has commenced her 17th year as an educator for Liberty High School, in Brentwood. Rodriguez has taught all levels of high school English, AP English language and composition, and AP English literature and composition. In addition to her education duties, she has served as director of the school’s student activities through its Student Leadership Program.

Joyce Rooks began her career in teaching after serving as a senior programmer analyst/senior systems analyst for Mervyns, as well as an independent computer-training consultant. This year, Rooks has begunher 14th year teaching for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, where she has served as an instructor for Dougherty Valley High, California High, and Coyote Creek Elementary. She has been teaching first and second grades for the past five years at Creekside Elementary, in Danville.

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

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

Erin Dinday, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Krystal Figaroa, Pittsburg Unified School District, Stoneman Elementary

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

Vicki McGuire, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter 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, as well as 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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