On Thursday night, September 22, in an energy-filled and packed Concord Hilton banquet room, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, announced Shauna Hawes, of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and Gina Minder-Maldonado of the Oakley Union Elementary School District as the 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.
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.
“I have worked closely with Shauna Hawes for the past several years,” says Foothill Middle School teacher Margaret Elliott. “Shauna does not work for awards or accolades, but simply to inspire and impact all those she comes in contact with each day. She believes that all students should have the same opportunities that her students have. Shauna is what you could call ‘open-source.’”
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.
“For the last 25 years, Gina Minder-Maldonado has challenged the students in Oakley to dream big, do the best they can each and every day, and treat one another with kindness and respect,” said Oakley Union Elementary School District Assistant Anne Allen. “Her classroom is a magical place – a place where children and adults to go to breathe in an environment that makes learning anything possible, celebrating mistakes normal, and creating independent thinkers a goal.
Their pathways to becoming this year’s Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year:
After both teachers were named Teacher of the Year by their school districts, last March, Hawes and Minder-Maldonado successfully proceeded, with the other 17 eligible county candidates, through a rigorous countywide selection process, including an application screening, classroom evaluation and interview, and speech presentation. Their fellow finalists were Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District (Liberty High) and Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, (Creekside Elementary).
The impressively large audience was made up of the TOYs’ family members and friends, as well as numerous local educators, business partners, and elected official representatives. Kicking off the festivities were three songs performed by the tremendous Hillview Junior High Jazz Band. The Pittsburg school’s 23-piece band was led by their teacher Diane Klaczynski. Klaczynski is a former Pittsburg Unified School District Teacher of the year.
The evening also featured Sakata introducing the TOY class of 2016-2017, individually on stage, as she shared with the audience her visits to each of the teachers’ classrooms and the comments their students gave her about their teachers. In addition, each honored teacher told the audience about which teacher inspired them to follow a career in education. This was followed by speeches of the four TOY finalists on the topic: “What I have learned from my students.” After the finalists’ speeches were given, Sakata announced the two Teachers of the Year.
Hawes and Minder-Maldonado will now compete with all the other California county representatives in the California State TOY competition. The California State Teachers of the Year are expected to be announced in early October. The county TOY program is coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education.
For additional info and a complete list of this year’s TOYS, visit the CCCOE’s Teacher of the Year Web page.