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Teacher of the Year finalists to be honored at upcoming banquet

Teacher of the Year Finalists (from left): Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District; Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District; Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District; Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District. (JUNE STEPHENS, CCCOE / Courtesy)
Teacher of the Year Finalists (from left): Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District; Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District; Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District; Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District. (JUNE STEPHENS, CCCOE / Courtesy)
After a rigorous selection process, the four current Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) finalists concluded their progression Monday morning, Aug. 15, at the annual Teacher of the Year Speech Presentation. The four finalists were each asked to give a prepared three- to five-minute speech titled: “What have I learned from my students.” It was clear the 12-person judging panel and audience were very impressed with the four speeches.

This year’s Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year finalists are:

Shauna Hawes. 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. 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.

Summer Rodriguez. Last month, Rodriguez had commenced her 17th year as an educator for 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 through its Student Leadership Program.

Joyce Rooks. 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. Rooks has begun her 14th 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.

“Along with the tremendous speeches, we were very fortunate to have quite the distinguished judging panel,” reports Contra Costa County Office of Education TOY Coordinator Jonathan Lance. “As the judges exited, they each said how impressed they were with the morning’s offerings!”

Coming up, on the evening of Sept. 22, 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 will serve as master of ceremonies, will introduce 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 TOY finalists giving speeches to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a close with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

The two winners of the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

At left: The Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Judging Panel: (back row, from left) G.J.E.L. Accident Attorneys Law Partner Luke Ellis; Chevron USA, Inc., Global Social Investment Manager Steve Woodhead; Chevron USA, Inc., Education & Corporate Programs Advisor Melissa Stone; Contra Costa County Public Defender Robin Lipetzky; Contra Costa County Superior Court Presiding Judge Hon. Steve Austin; retired Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge and current Law Partner of O’Connor, Runckel, O’Malley Hon. Dan O’Malley; Contra Costa County Assistant Sheriff Matthew Schuler; (seated, from left) Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Hon. Jill Fannin; Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor Dr. Helen Benjamin; 2017 Contra Costa Community College Teacher of the Year Professor Aminta Mickles; 2013 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dr. Rona Zollinger; Contra Costa County Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox; and Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Chief Jeff Carman. (JUNE STEPHENS, CCCOE / Courtesy)
At left: The Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Judging Panel: (back row, from left) G.J.E.L. Accident Attorneys Law Partner Luke Ellis; Chevron USA, Inc., Global Social Investment Manager Steve Woodhead; Chevron USA, Inc., Education & Corporate Programs Advisor Melissa Stone; Contra Costa County Public Defender Robin Lipetzky; Contra Costa County Superior Court Presiding Judge Hon. Steve Austin; retired Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge and current Law Partner of O’Connor, Runckel, O’Malley Hon. Dan O’Malley; Contra Costa County Assistant Sheriff Matthew Schuler; (seated, from left) Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Hon. Jill Fannin; Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor Dr. Helen Benjamin; 2017 Contra Costa Community College Teacher of the Year Professor Aminta Mickles; 2013 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dr. Rona Zollinger; Contra Costa County Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox; and Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Chief Jeff Carman.
(JUNE STEPHENS, CCCOE / Courtesy)

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