The Modesto Rotary Club and the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) announced the selection of four local educators as 2014 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year at a Rotary luncheon on May 6. Additionally, the Jane Johnston Civility Award was presented to one of the 12 finalists for exemplifying the principles of civility. The winner of this award was Michelle Jones from Magnolia Elementary School in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District. As the winner of the award, she received $1,000.
The Civility Award is in honor of former SCOE Assistant Superintendent Jane Johnston, who helped launch the county-wide Choose Civility Initiative in 2010 and passed away unexpectedly in April 2012. Johnston was a member of the Modesto Rotary Club, co-chaired the Teacher of the Year Program, and was active with the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County.
“Jane was an exceptional model of civility at work and in our community,” said Education Foundation Chairperson Carol Benson. “Thus, the Education Foundation thought it would be a fitting tribute to create this award in her memory to honor a teacher who best exemplifies the principles of civility.”
Teachers were nominated by their principals and finalists were selected from 87 nominees representing 19 school districts in Stanislaus County. A selection committee, composed of local Rotarians and educators, narrowed the nominations through a paper screening process and then visited the classrooms of 24 semi-finalists before narrowing it down to the 12 finalists. Each Teacher of the Year received a $1,000 cash award from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation and a $500 Nasco gift card.
The 2014 Teachers of the Year are: Susan Peters from La Rosa Elementary School in the Ceres Unified School District – K-3 division; Marlene Bergstrom from Medeiros Elementary School in the Turlock Unified School District – 4-6 division; Jennifer Rutishauser from Ustach Middle School in the Sylvan Union District – junior high division; and William Frey from Waterford High School in the Waterford Unified School District – high school division.
Other Teachers of the Year Finalists honored at the luncheon included several Oakdale Joint Unified School District teachers: Michelle Jones, Magnolia elementary; Shelley Cuenca, Cloverland elementary; Amanda Hensley, Sierra View elementary; Danny Rogers, Fair Oaks elementary; Keeli Beland, Oakdale Junior High School; and Julie Granzella, East Stanislaus High School.
This is the 16th year that Modesto Rotary Club and SCOE have joined efforts to honor teachers in Stanislaus County. The program not only honors local teachers and celebrates excellence in education, but also provides an opportunity for teachers to receive state and national recognition. Two of the four Teachers of the Year will be selected, through an interview process, to represent Stanislaus County in the State Teacher of the Year Program. One state winner then proceeds to the national level.