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 Teacher(s)*

  • ​Career Service Teacher

Our 2021 Teacher of the Year Award Winners

From Left to right: Sergio Blanco, Career Service Teacher (Hillcrest Middle School); Jennifer Tsurumoto, New Teacher (Park Side & Brook Haven Schools);  Kindergarten Teachers Kate Crandall, Beth Trivunovic, Kory Van Dyke, Sally Redfern, Innovative Teacher (Gravenstein Elementary School)

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS OF SELECTION CRITERIA

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

kids reading.jpg

2020-2021 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:

  • Career Service Teacher

  • New Teacher

  • Innovative Teacher

 

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 selection process took on new importance this year because of the pandemic.  The ability to teach well in a distance-learning environment heightened everyone’s awareness of what good teachers could do in the face of most challenging circumstances.  And, because of the uniqueness of the year, the Education Foundation made a one-time change in the criteria: It was clear that in many schools, groups of teachers had collaborated on how to innovate to adapt to their new environment.  So, we invited the nomination of groups of teachers for the “innovative teacher” award.

 

In response to the Foundation’s invitation, twenty-five teachers or groups were nominated from thirteen schools.  Teacher of the Year Committee Chair, Diana Rich was delighted: “It was a difficult year for our schools and our teachers.  The Teacher of the Year Award is intended to reflect the community’s appreciation for the great work our teachers.  We have said in the past that their efforts are under ‘trying conditions,’ but we could never have thought prior to the past year about teaching conditions as challenging as those we’ve recently faced.  All of our winners are really deserving.”

 

The winners were:

 

  • Career Service Teacher of the Year: Sergio Blanco, Hillcrest Middle School, who has for many years entranced his students into sharing his love of science.

 

  • New Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Tsurumoto, Park Side and Brook Haven Schools, who found ways of teaching physical education – even over the Internet.

 

  • Innovative Teachers of the Year: Kory Van Dyke, Beth Trivunovic, Sally Redfern, Kate Crandall, Gravenstein Elementary School, who kept kindergartners interested in learning, even though there were no hugs or reading sessions on the classroom rug.

 

The individual winners of the awards receive $1000 for their personal use.  The group of innovative teachers each received $500.  In addition, all of the teachers had two separate recognitions: First, they were shocked by Foundation members who came to school meetings 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 or superintendent.

 

Rotary Club President Dan Rasmus reflected on the event: “Every year we get the reaction we love from our awardees.  They are surprised, flattered, humbled and, most importantly, appreciative that people have taken the time to recognize how hard they work for kids they love.”

 

Thank you to all who took time to submit a nomination!

 

 

 

 

From Left to right: Sergio Blanco, Career Service Teacher (Hillcrest Middle School); Jennifer Tsurumoto, New Teacher (Park Side & Brook Haven Schools);  Kindergarten Teachers Kate Crandall, Beth Trivunovic, Kory Van Dyke, Sally Redfern, Innovative Teacher (Gravenstein Elementary School)

2019-2020

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

2018-2019

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

2017-2018

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

2016-2017

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

2015-2016

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

2014-2015

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

2013-2014

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

2012-2013

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

2011-2012

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

2009-2010

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

​2008-2009

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

2007-2008

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