Contra Costa's 'Top Teacher' Class of 2014-15 Comes Together

Joann Rossie, Early Start Program, at Marchus School in Concord and Dr. Joseph Ovick
Joann Rossie, Early Start Program, at Marchus School in Concord and Dr. Joseph Ovick

By Jonathan Lance:

Representing all corners and in between Contra Costa County, the 22 Class of 2014-2015 Teachers of the Year (TOY) were able to meet each other for the first time at the annual Teacher of the Year Reception -- held at the Contra Costa County Office of Education on the afternoon of May 27. 

The relaxed and festive event is for the TOYs to meet each other, learn more about the TOY Program, receive details about the upcoming TOY Dinner Celebration, and to have their portraits taken.

Many of the TOYs were accompanied by their school principals and school district superintendents.

The program kicked-off with Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., welcoming and congratulating the honored TOYs.
“We are so proud of you all; you are tremendous representatives of the educators in Contra Costa County,” Dr. Ovick said. “Currently there are a little more than 8,100 K-12 public school educators, teaching approximately 173,020 students in our county. There are nine states in our nation that have less students attending public schools than Contra Costa County.”

Following Dr. Ovick, the TOYs each individually introduced themselves, as their brethren and the rest of the audience listened intently. In addition, the four TOY Finalists were introduced. 

This year’s finalists are:

  • Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District, Freedom High; 
  • Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg Unified School District, Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High; 
  • Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High; 
  • Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Coyote Creek Elementary. 

The two current Teachers of the Year, Cindy Egan of San Ramon Valley Unified School District and Beth Levine of West Contra Costa County Unified School District, spoke to the TOYs about their experience representing the county with numerous appearances and speaking opportunities.

The joyous occasion concluded with the traditional toast to the incoming TOYs (sparkling apple juice in plastic champagne glasses), followed by plenty of networking.

On the evening of September 11, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of more than 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. 

The evening will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year. 

2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

Nikki Alford, Oakley Union Elementary School DistrictGehringer Elementary 

Jason Davis, Knightsen Elementary School DistrictKnightsen Elementary 

Keith Johnson, West Contra Costa USDEl Cerrito High 

Kevin Jones, Antioch Unified School DistrictAntioch High 

Jane Kelson, Acalanes Union High School DistrictCampolindo High 

Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School DistrictFreedom High 

Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg Unified School DistrictMartin Luther King, Jr. Junior High 

Patrick Leong, Contra Costa County College DistrictDiablo Valley College 

Dorinda Mas, Byron Union School DistrictDiscovery Bay Elementary 

Bruce McCormick, West Contra Costa Unified School DistrictPortola Middle 

CiCi Migay, Brentwood Union School DistrictBrentwood Elementary

 Tricia Newhart, Orinda Union School DistrictDel Ray Elementary 

Catherine Patterson, John Swett Unified School DistrictRodeo Hills Elementary 

Ann Ralph, Moraga School DistrictDonald Rheem Elementary 

Gail Robles, Walnut Creek School DistrictParkmead Elementary 

Joann Rossi, Contra Costa County Office of EducationEarly Start Program @ Marchus School 

Stephen Slater, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Wren Avenue Elementary 

Kara Teach, San Ramon Valley Unified School DistrictCharlotte Wood Middle 

Olivia Vann, Lafayette School DistrictSpringhill Elementary 

Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School DistrictAlhambra High 

Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified School DistrictCoyote Creek Elementary 

Kathleen Young, Mt. Diablo Unified School DistrictHighlands Elementary 

For more info about the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Program, please visit our Web page.



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