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California Honors Teachers of the Year

February 6, 2012

In my work with Accomplished California Teachers, it has been my good fortune to collaborate with some true leaders in our field, who found their way to the spotlight by being named California Teachers of the Year.  Alex Kajitani was the first: a rappin’ mathematician from San Diego, Alex represented our state in the national Teacher of the Year functions and activities, where I was lucky to have Cindi Rigsbee helping me make some California connections.  Alex encouraged me to attend the annual dinner to honor our state teachers of the year, and that advice put me in contact with 2010 Teacher of the Year Kelly Kovacic, who became a fellow blogger here at InterACT.  Valerie Ziegler was also part of the 2010 cohort; she also contributed some writing for InterACT, and joined us to speak about National Board Certification and teacher leadership at a Stanford event in 2010.  Another year, another dinner, and Shannan Brown not only joined our network but also provided clear and powerful insights for our recent policy summit on teaching quality.

While I’ve highlighted the teachers I’ve known and worked with in some capacity, it has been a pleasure to meet and talk to many of the other recent California Teachers of the Year.  Tonight, it will be my privilege to join in the celebration for the California Teachers of the Year for 2012.

  • Rebecca Mieliwocki teaches English to seventh graders at Luther Burbank Middle School in the Burbank Unified School District (Los Angeles County). Mrs. Mieliwocki also was selected by Torlakson to serve as the state’s representative to the National Teacher of the Year Program.
  • Florence Avognon teaches English and is part of the Reading Intervention Specialists Teachers program, Central Juvenile Hall, Los Angeles County Office of Education (Los Angeles County). (Due to budget cuts, Ms. Avognon was transferred in September to another court school, The Phoenix Academy, a residential treatment program for adolescent substance abusers, where she continues to teach high school.)
  • Tom Collett teaches Science to eighth graders at Newark Junior High School in the Newark Unified School District (Alameda County).
  • Shari Ann Herout teaches kindergarten and provides Responsiveness to Intervention services at Foxboro Elementary School in the Travis Unified School District (Solano County).
  • Ken LaVigne teaches English at La Serna High School in the Whittier Union High School District (Los Angeles County).  [Source: CA Dept. of Ed.]

Congratulations to Rebecca, Florence, Tom, Shari, and Ken, and also, thanks to our 2011 Teachers of the Year for representing our profession and state in the past year.

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