Two San Ramon Valley Unified teachers went above and beyond this school year and are being recognized for their efforts. The district's Board of Education recognized Cindy Egan and Nick Zefeldt at its March 19 meeting.
Egan, the environmental science/engineering teacher at San Ramon Valley High, and Live Oak Elementary fifth grade teacher Zefedlt were honored as the district's 2013-14 teachers of the year and will go on to compete against 20 educators from other districts for Contra Costa County teacher of the year.
"Once again, we have a tremendous group of teachers who have earned their school district's highest accolades, due to their talents, work ethic, and dedication they provide for their students," said Joseph A. Ovick, Contra Costa County superintendent of schools. "These honored educators not only represent their individual schools and school districts, but also embody all of the exceptional teachers we are so fortunate to have in our county."
Egan has taught environmental science at SRVHS for six years; her activity-based, hands-on class encourages juniors and seniors to learn more about the environment and the careers involved in its management and preservation. Egan is also a member of the board of directors for Sustainable Danville Area and won Sustainable Contra Costa's award for an individual dedicated to the environment.
"Cindy epitomizes our district's focus on rigor, relevance and relationships," said Ruth Steele, principal of San Ramon Valley High School. "She spends countless hours at school, working individually with students and running many afterschool activities."
Zefeldt has been teaching for six years, including three years at Live Oak. He is involved in Live Oak's PTA and Site Council, and also acts as the school's Instructional Technology Coach.
"Nick is an amazing educator who truly connects with each individual student," said Nadine Rosenzweig, Principal of Live Oak Elementary School. "He is held in the highest regard by our staff and parent community."
Zefeldt strives to create a "life-long love of learning" in each student. Zefeldt is an avid swimmer, bicyclist, and runner who loves to race in local triathlons on the weekends.
Contra Costa County's 22 teachers of the year represent 17 school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the county Office of Education. Twenty, those who teach grades pre-kindergarten through 12, are eligible to compete in the county level competition. The winner of the county program will represent Contra Costa in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.
On April 19, a committee representing the county's education, business and public-sector partners will review the applications submitted by the school districts and select five teachers as semi-finalists. In late April and early May, education specialists and business partners will observe the semi-finalists interacting with their students, interview the candidates discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques to narrow down three finalists.
In August, three finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills. All teachers of the year will attend an awards dinner in September where the county winner will be announced.