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FRESNO COUNTY

Betty McPeek

Donna Vincenti

John Wash Elementary School, Sanger Unified School District


Being recognized as Sanger Unified’s Teacher of the Year and Fresno County Teacher of the Year has been the highlight of my professional career. My 15 years in education began in sixth grade, and for the last 10 years in fabulous fifth grade in Sanger Unified. Mentoring new teachers is my passion. As a Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment provider and lead teacher over the past 10 years I have worked with 35 new teachers. Each year my students and I take on the role as leaders in character education completing service-learning projects within our classroom, school, and community. It is important that my students become contributing members of their community. Creating lasting memories of school and meeting academic goals inspires students to achieve throughout life.

LAKE COUNTY

Kent Hammons

Marc Morita

Middletown Middle School, Middletown Unified School District


I always struggle with autobiographies. Should I discuss that I was the youngest of four, and that my parents and sisters are my greatest teachers? Should I mention that although my father wanted me to enter into medicine, teaching was my passion with my first gig in Miyazaki, Japan? Do I continue this little blurb to discuss my five years as a teacher at Fieldbrook Elementary in Humboldt County? Perhaps I need to divulge that my current position is the 7th Grade Language Arts Teacher at Middletown Middle School? Of course, it’s imperative that I introduce my incredibly talented and beautiful wife, Jessica, and our two children, Abby, a fox terrier, and Henry, a big ol’ goofy mutt. Well, there you go, my life abridged.

MARIN COUNTY

Oscar Dominguez

Gene Abbott

Walker Ranch Outdoor Education and Conference Center, Marin County Office of Education


Thirty-five years ago I began my career in education teaching motorcycle and automotive repair to high school students and adults. My students blossomed in many ways. They became engaged in the work and aspired to high quality craftsmanship. These early teaching experiences led me to become a mentor teacher and eventually an instructor for teaching credential candidates through the University of California at Berkeley Extension program.

In 1995, I began working as an administrator for the programs I once taught.

I provided administrative leadership for Career and Technical Education, Alternative Education and Environmental Education. Programs under my supervision have received several awards from the Marin Economic Commission (2001, 2004) and a special recognition of excellence from the Marin Grand Jury (2007).

In all of my duties, I strive to fill my role with the heart and world view of a teacher and mentor.
Oscar Dominguez

Mike Grant

Walker Creek Ranch Outdoor Education and Conference Center, Marin County Office of Education


I grew up in Pleasant Hill, California and earned a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley. I co-founded and directed a non-profit peace building youth exchange program between the United States and Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, and have worked for the Marin County Office of Education for over 13 years, assisting with the development of the programs at Walker Creek Ranch. As the Outdoor School Manager, I served for two years as Chair of the California Outdoor School Administrators and have been involved in developing outdoor school curriculum correlated with State Content Standards. I have been a strong advocate of legislative efforts to give all students the opportunity to participate in an outdoor school program. I hold a Vocational Education Teaching Credential in Energy, Environment and Resource Management, and a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential.

MENDOCINO COUNTY

Mary Batchelder

Larry Gluckman

Ukiah High Community School, Mendocino County Office of Education


I have been in the trenches of the classroom for the past 34 years, 20 of them at the Mendocino County Office of Education as an Alternative Education Teacher teaching grades 7-11. For the past 19 summers, I have taught a class for the “Community Service Learning Project” which teaches kids how to work in a variety of vocational settings, ie; carpentry, painting and landscaping.

At the early age of 16, I knew that my destiny was to be a teacher, and I would be the kind of teacher that I had craved throughout my education.

My career as an educator is exactly what I wanted it to be, and the people that I have worked with have enriched both my life and those of the kids in our classes. In particular, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Judi Walsh, para-professional, who has worked side-by-side with me for the last 10 years. Lastly, without the support and encouragement of my wife Rhonda, our children Zorrah and Zeke, and granddaughter Ella, the journey would not have been nearly as wonderful.
John LaLonde

Steve Lund

Fort Bragg Unified School District


After graduating from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, I began my teaching career as a classroom teacher at South Bay Union School District in Imperial Beach, California. Several years later, I returned to San Diego State and completed a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Administration.

My educational career has spanned over the last 34 years as a classroom and lead teacher, principal, superintendent, with my last position being as District Superintendent of Fort Bragg Unified School District for the last eight years. I currently serve on the Executive Board of the Small School Districts Association, and have acted as the committee chair for the technology and state conference committees.

I want to thank the many people who I have had the grand opportunity to work with over the course of my career, and especially I want to thank my wife Cindy for her support.

I will retire this June and can honestly say that a career in education is rewarding, difficult, challenging, and fulfilling all rolled into one; I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

NAPA COUNTY

Mark Iacuaniello

Sharon Campbell

Redwood Middle School, Napa Valley Unified School District


Middle schoolers still believe all things are possible. I believe it is my task to prove to each and every one of my students the truth of that belief before they leave me.

My classroom is the Redwood Middle School Exploratory Space Academy. We spent over $14,000 on electronics, lights, paint, projectors and a state-of-the-art sound system. I spent a summer creating the curriculum. Students enter the spaceship door and become the first crew to journey to Mars in the year 2014. On our journey we first learn our own history through the study of man’s art, his ethics, and his science before we can share our knowledge with what or whomever we may find.

Yep, kids love to be at school at Redwood Middle School.
Twila Rutherford

Erica Sonnenberg

Carneros Elementary School, Napa Valley Unified School District


Some say I was born with a white board pen in my hand. Others say it was a sweatshirt with an apple on it. Only one thing’s for certain: I was born to teach.

It was at Kings Beach Elementary School in Lake Tahoe that I met a teacher who inspired me: my 5th grade teacher Mr. B. Happily, I survived middle school and high school and headed off to Reed College in Portland, Oregon. After earning a very useful degree in Psychology, I decided it was time to see the world. I traveled to Nepal, Thailand and Laos. It was at The Happy House Inn in Bangkok, Thailand, when I realized that it was time for me to make a difference in the world. I quickly headed home, enrolled in the Teacher Education Program at Sierra Nevada College and…the rest is history. Now I’m married with a baby (a Boxer named Nougat) and in the middle of my sixth year at Carneros Elementary.

SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY

Lisa Miller

Eve Cheung

Junipero Serra Elementary School, San Francisco Unified School District


I have been an educator in the SFUSD for 28 years, first as a Special Education teacher, then a Program Consultant with Special Education. I spent the next nine years, teaching 2nd and 3rd grade students at E.R. Taylor Elementary School. The last nine years have been spent as a principal. I am currently the principal at Junipera Serra Elementary School.

The guiding principle of my life is balance— balance between family and work. My work with students has been challenging and fulfilling. It is guided by my belief that every child deserves to be achieving at their grade level or above. My promise is to do my best to make this happen.
Caroline Wilson

Leslie Trook

A.P. Giannini Middle School, San Francisco Unified School District


I arrived at SFUSD eleven years ago after a teaching career in San Diego where I taught high school English to students who lived close to the border of Mexico. I began my administrative career as Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at Washington High School. I have been the principal of A.P. Giannini Middle School for 8 years. With a vision of closing the achievement gap, we have committed our resources to bringing all students to proficient or above. At the same time, as members of a districtwide teacher leader initiative, departments are aligning assessments with the standards-based curriculum. To meet the needs of the whole child, we have institutionalized a program called Non-Violent Communication that includes Restorative Circles to bring resolution to conflicts, give empathy to others, and speak compassionately. I live in my school neighborhood and swim in a master’s program at a pool within walking distance of my home. My passions are writing, especially poetry, attending the theater, reading, and viewing art shows.
Caroline Wilson

Kevin Truitt

Mission High School, San Francisco Unified School District


of no child left behind. Not the President Bush agenda, but the belief that every student matters. I am so fortunate to have found a school community that believes as I do, that the students must believe that you care deeply about their academic success and about their growth and maturity as individuals. Their lives matter to us a great deal. As a school community, we have been shoulders to cry on when we have lost classmates to gun violence in the city, but more importantly, we have been the strength each of us needs to lift each other up and strive forward.

I believe it is the responsibility of every generation to leave the next generation a better world; unfortunately, my generation did not do a very good job for the children of today. I, for one, am very optimistic that the world of this next generation will be a far better place.

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY

Virginia Dold

Bill Chiechi

Oak View Elementary School District


I have served as Superintendent/Principal of the Oak View Elementary School District for 22 years. During my tenure, the school has built three wings of permanent classrooms without passing any bonds, piloted the first Internet and computerized student information system in the county, been selected a California Distinguished School, provided a curriculum and teaching staff that have produced an API of 850, and created a school culture that is inviting, enriching, and fun for students.

I began my career teaching intermediate grades at Oak View in 1977, became Vice Principal in 1984, and was the Association of California School Administrators Region VII Superintendent/ Principal of the Year in 1998. I am most proud of our students’ academic achievement, the dedication of our teachers and the support I have received from our community.
Judy Giampaoli

Leo Zuber

Ripon Unified School District


I am currently the Superintendent of the Ripon Unified School District where I have served since 1993. During my tenure, the district has grown from two elementary schools and a high school with a total district enrollment of 1,100 to a district of 2,950 students with five elementary schools. I helped pass a $10 million bond which built an elementary school and expanded the high school. Our elementary schools have consistently had APIs of over 750, and two schools have been recognized as California Distinguished Schools.

I started my career as a UC Davis intern in Tuolumne County in 1969 to address a teacher shortage in rural areas. Prior to coming to Ripon, I taught in a middle school in Dixon and began my administrative career there as a Vice-Principal. In 1979, I was hired as principal at Ripon Elementary School. In 1990 I became the Director of District Services before becoming the Superintendent in 1993.

SOLANO COUNTY

Dr. David Mantooth

Jean Hull

Dan O. Root II Elementary School, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District


I teach third grade at Dan O. Root II Elementary School. My greatest accomplishment in the last 21 years has been turning kids on to learning and teaching them how to keep that process going independent of anyone else. My greatest contribution is that I give my students everything I have inside of me without holding back. I give of my knowledge, my time, my talent, my enthusiasm, and my vision for them.

I believe that teachers are the backbone of society, and that carries with it a tremendous responsibility. We are models of our society’s ethics and values, and we hold the line against powerful negative factors like poverty and violence. We have the opportunity to influence children beyond academics and help mold the people that they will become.