Teacher of the Year Selection Criteria


Please note the selection criteria listed here are not exclusive, and are not intended to be requirements. Instead they are a list of considerations that we hope will help those who nominate teachers understand the intent behind each of the three cateories.


New Teacher (less than 3 years in the profession)​. 

  1. Enthusiasm for the job (a smile and energy, plus a drive to do things right).

  2. Ability to spark meaningful work conversations and address current issues.

  3. New and useful ideas for instruction and/or school climate.

  4. Approval of students and parents, as well as fellow teachers.

  5. Consideration of the following:

    • Ability to work well with special education students.​

    • Strategic/effective use of IT/new media as part of instruction

    • Ability to relate to students, especially where a caring adult acting as a mentor can have a profound difference on the trajectory of a child's education. 

Innovative Teacher(s). 

  1. Instrumental in implementing an innovative or creative change in instruction or the school climate that has been adopted within the last five years. 

  2. The innovation or creative change has been shown to be effective in  meeting its stated goal. 

  3. The teacher has a history of promoting high standards and thoughtful execution of instruction and school climate strategies, such that the award reflects not just a one-time contribution, but rather a history of working to improve school operations. 

Career Service Teachers.

  1. Interpersonal communication skills (how the teacher connects with others, what expectations of effort and achievement the teacher communicates, the feelings the teacher communicates to others).

  2. Creativity and imagination (innovative teaching approaches and tecniques, effectiveness in addressing individual student interests and needs).

  3. Extracurricular activities (helps students extend learning through clubs, sports, field trips, etc, is available to students and meets with parents outside of class time, communicates closely and effectively with parents.) 

  4. Collegial development (helps guide, coach, and support fellow teachers, actively contributes in staff meetings and events, exhibits school leadership).

  5. Personal professional development (pursues personal growth as a teacher, utilizes a variety of outside resources)


Nominations closed on Friday April 16, 2021 at midnight.

Thank you to all those who took the time to provide a nomination.

2019-2020 Awards

The Sebastopol Rotary Education Foundation (SREF) is pleased to honor 2019-2020 Teachers of the Year:   

Mary Jo Kinser, Pleasant Hill Christian School for a career of great performance and leadership; Sydnee Mardell, Twin Hills Charter Middle School for her stellar performance as a new teacher;  and Joe Maloney, Laguna HIgh School for his innovations to improve curriculum and career opportunities
Read the Full Press Release Here


Julie Aiello, Kindergarten, Parkside School
Tim Forslund, Social Studies, Analy High School
Amanda Reece, Special Education, West Sonoma County Special Education Consortium
Sonoma West Times Article


Jolene Johnson, Dance Teacher, El Molino High School
Karen McKenna, 6th Grade English and History, Twin Hills Middle School
Jeff Stucker, 6th Grade English and History, Brook Haven School
Sonoma West Times Article


​Kate O'Brien,Kindergarten,  Sunridge School
Sara Gramm, 3rd Grade, Parkside School
Adam Alcorn, Special Education, Analy High School
Sonoma West Times Article


Nicole Ellwood, Special Education Twin Hills Middle School
Katya Robinson, West Sonoma County Special Education Consortium
Walt Hayes, Applied Arts & Technology, Analy High School
Sonoma West Times Article


​Sunny Galbraith, Orchard View School
Greg Corby, Brook Haven School
Mike Roan, El Molino High School
Sonoma West Times Article


Mary Fitch, Physical Sciences, Twin Hills Charter School
Sarah Prosser, 4th Grade, Sun Ridge Waldorf School
Lynn Stewart, English Language Learners, El Molino High School


Andy DelMonte, Choir, Analy High School
John Thomas, English, El Molino High School


Gianna De Persis Vona, English, Laguna High School
Rachel Lasek, Math, El Molino High School


Joe Compagno, Science, Analy High School
Vance Regan, Instrumental Music, Analy High School


Bill Olzman, Social Studies/English, El Molino High School
Lynette Williamson, English/Rhetoric, Analy High School


John Grech, Social Studies, El Molino High School
Cathy Wiese, Special Eduaction, Analy High School