The following four teachers have been named as the 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Finalists: Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District; Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District; Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District; and Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Two of these four finalists will be chosen in late September, and will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program.
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 will soon be finishing her 25th year of teaching. For the past 17 years, Minder-Maldonado has taught 2nd grade at Oakley Elementary School, in Oakley. Her former teaching experience includes preschool and transitional kindergarten grades, as well as elementary after school and summer school instruction.
Summer Rodriguez has been an educator for 16 years at 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.
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. She is currently in her 13th 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.
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:
I Application Screening:
On April 8, a committee of 14 judges, 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 was completed, these four teachers were selected to advance to the next two phases as TOY finalists.
II Classroom Observation and Interview:
During the months of April and early May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the four finalists interacting with their students during class, followed by interviews with the TOYs. The committee and finalists will discuss topics such as their teaching philosophies and student-progress 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 500) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County 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 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.
Currently, there are approximately 8,400 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 entire list of the county’s TOYs on our earlier news release.) This 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). Twenty of these representatives, those who teach grades pre-K thru adult education, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two winners of the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.