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California Teachers of the Year 2020

Correction: Our story now includes Brenda Chavez-Barreras, who was erroneously omitted in an earlier version.

On Oct. 4 state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond named five educators as the 2020 California Teachers of the Year.

“These five incredible teachers receive this prestigious honor for their focus, drive and determination to teach young people in California,” Thurmond said. “They are not only wonderful representatives for our state, but they also make profound differences in the lives of their students and their communities by employing innovative strategies to increase academic success and narrow the achievement gap among a broad range of students.”

All five of the 2020 California Teachers of the Year are CTA members. They are:

Sean Bui, Fremont Education Association, a ninth through twelfth grade English language development and business law teacher at Cupertino High School in Cupertino. Thurmond also nominated Bui as California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. Bui will compete against other state nominees, and the 2020 National Teacher of the Year will be announced in the spring.

Brenda Chavez-Barreras, Perris Elementary Teachers Association, a kindergarten teacher at Good Hope Elementary School in Perris, Riverside County.

Mandy Kelly, Saddleback Valley Educators Association, a sixth grade multiple-subject teacher at Trabuco Mesa Elementary School in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Guy Myers, Burbank Teachers Association, a ninth through twelfth grade drama and musical theater teacher at John Burroughs High School in Burbank.

Katya Robinson, West Sonoma County Teachers Association, a kindergarten through third grade special education teacher at West Sonoma County Consortium School in Sebastopol.

Thurmond, who recently launched a Teacher Shortage workgroup at the California Department of Education, said the winning educators will be effective ambassadors for the profession.

“Great teachers are the core of a great educational system. Yes, teaching changes lives of individual students, but beyond that, teachers show us all that all children can achieve, no matter who they are,” he said.

Presented by California Casualty and supported by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage new teachers to enter the profession.

County offices of education nominate applicants through their county-level competitions. The California Department of Education (CDE) selection committees review applications; conduct site visits to evaluate teachers’ rapport with students, classroom environments, presentation skills, and teaching techniques; and interview the teachers. The state superintendent then selects the five California Teachers of the Year and the National Teacher of the Year nominee.

For more information on the award program, please visit the CDE’s California Teachers of the Year webpage.

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