Two San Ramon Valley Unified teachers went above and beyond this school year and are being recognized by the county for their efforts. Cindy Egan and Nick Zefeldt have been named the 2013-2014 Contra Costa County teacher of the year (TOY) finalists.
Egan teaches biology and AP environmental science to grades 11 and 12 at San Ramon Valley High School. A former career engineer, Egan has worked her entire eight-year-teaching career at SRVHS. 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.
"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 after-school activities."
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.
Zefeld has spent six years teaching within San Ramon Valley Unified, all at Live Oak Elementary. This is Zefeld's third year teaching fifth grade and he is also involved in Live Oak's PTA, 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.
Beth Levine, a fourth- through fifth grade teacher at West Contra Costa USD's Montalvin Manor Elementary in San Pablo, and Mt. Diablo USD's El Monte Elementary fifth grade teacher Carissa Sugden were also chosen as finalists. Two of the four finalists will be chosen in late September and will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program.
Finalists were chosen on April 19 by a committee representing the county's education, business and public-sector partners. In August, the four 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 to determine who will go on to the state competition.
All teachers of the year will attend an awards dinner in September where the county winner will be announced.