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West Sonoma County Teacher of the Year Award


Teacher of the Year Awards


The Sebastopol Rotary Education Foundation, a tax-exempt 501c3 charity, has been recognizing outstanding teachers since 2007 with a cash award and a luncheon banquet in their honor. Beginning in 2019-20, SREF honors one teacher of the year in each of these categories:

  • New Teacher

  • Innovative/Collaborative Teacher(s)

  • ​Career Service Teacher

Our 2022 Teacher of the Year Award Winners


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Sally Briggs.jpg
Andy Del Monte.jpg
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2021-2022 Awards

West Sonoma County Teacher of the Year Awards


The Sebastopol Rotary Education Foundation funds the Teacher of the Year Awards.


The goal of these awards is to recognize the skills and dedication of West County teachers who engage our children and provide the kind of education experience that will be the foundation for a productive and happy life.


Starting in 2020, we changed our selection criteria.  There are now three awards:


  • New Teacher (3 years or less of teaching experience)

  • Innovative/Collaborative Teachers (2 or more teachers who worked collaboratively on a project)

  • Career Service Teacher (more than 3 years of teaching experience)


Each year the Education Foundation asks parents, teachers, administrators, students, and community members associated with every elementary and secondary school in West County to nominate teachers who have had a great career, who have shown promise in their first three years in the profession and who have championed innovations that have improved instruction or school life.


The winners were:


  • Career Service Teacher of the Year: Sally Briggs, Apple Blossom Art Teacher.  Sally Briggs has been a gifted teacher for 48 years: Switzerland, New England and northern California.  Her recent 28 years have been dedicated to Sonoma County; Sebastopol Union School District, Analy High School, Petaluma, Rohnert Park and she is currently teaching at Apple Blossom School with the Twin Hills School District.  She has provided art for many community projects which includes the Ceres Project, Empty Bowls and Rotary.


  • New Teacher of the Year: Mei Ibach, West County High School Culinary Arts Teacher. Mei Ibach is a chef extraordinaire who introduces her students to new foods, food science and provides inspiration to her students with the possibility of pursuing a career in culinary arts.


  • Innovative Teachers of the Year: Walt Hays, West County High School MAKE and Computer Science Teacher and Andy Del Monte, West County High School Choir and Physical Education Teacher.  Walt Hays and Andy Del Monte are the two (2) Innovative/Collaborative teachers who developed, implemented and led students in executing the Holiday Light Show displayed on the West County High School building for multiple weeks over the Winter Holidays.  The innovative project had a positive impact on the students involved and was also a gift to the West County community, including the greater Sonoma County community.


Each winner of the awards receive $1000 for their personal use.  In addition, all of the teachers had two separate recognitions: First, they were surprised by Foundation members who came to school to surprise the winners with the announcement of their award.  Then, all the winners came to a Rotary Club meeting where they were introduced and praised by both members of the awards committee and their principal.


A special thank you to all who took the time to submit a nomination, including those of you who are involved in and support the education of our youth.





From Left to right: WSCUHSD In-coming Superintendent Chris Meredith, wife of Andy Del Monte Kristen Del Monte, Award Recipient Sally Briggs, daughter of Sally Briggs, Rotarian Scott Briggs, WCHS Vice Principal Dani Barese, Award Recipient Andy Del Monte, WCHS Principal Shauna Ferdinandson, Award Recipient Walt Hays, Award Recipient Mei Ibach, Rotarian and WSCUHSD Director of Human Resources Mia Del Prete, Wife of Rotarian Jim Pacatte Rosie Pacatte, and Rotarian Jim Paccatte.

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Sally Briggs, Career Service Teacher, Apple Blossom School

Mei Ibach, New Teacher, West County High School

Andy Del Monte and Walt Hays, Innovative Teachers, West County High School



Sergio Blanco, Career Service Teacher, Hillcrest Middle School

Jennifer Tsurumoto, New Teacher, Parkside & Brook Haven Schools

Kate Crandall, Beth Trivunovic, Kory Van Dyke and Sally Redfern, Innovative Teachers, Gravenstein Elementary School



Mary Jo Kinser, Career Service Teacher, Pleasant Hill Christian School

Joe Maloney, Innovate Teacher, Laguna High School

Sydnee Mardell, New Teacher, Twin Hills Charter Middle School


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

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