2019 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year Announced


For Immediate Release: May 7, 2019

Contacts:   Cynthia Fenech, Communications Coordinator, 238-1704, Judy Boring, Communications Coordinator, 238-1709                                               

The Modesto Rotary Club and the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) announced the selection of four local educators as 2019 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year at a Rotary luncheon on May 7.  In addition, a Jane Johnston Civility Award was presented to one of the 12 finalists for exemplifying the principles of civility. 

Teachers were nominated by their principals and finalists were selected from 69 nominees representing 15 school districts in Stanislaus County.  A selection committee, composed of local Rotarians and educators, narrowed the nominations through a paper screening process and then visited the classrooms of 24 semi-finalists before narrowing it down to the 12 finalists.

The 2019 Teachers of the Year are: Gaylyn Barker from Patricia Kay Beaver Elementary School in the Ceres Unified School District – TK-3 division; Debbie Persons from Sherwood Elementary School in the Sylvan Union Elementary School District – 4-6 division; Crystal Case from Emilie J. Ross Middle School in the Hughson Unified School District – junior high division; and Jared Jeffries from Turlock High School in the Turlock Unified School District – high school division.

The four selected as Teachers of the Year each received a $1,000 cash award from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation and a $650 Nasco gift card. Mocse Credit Union also sponsored the event and provided funding for the awards, decorations and lunch for the student entertainers.


The 2019 Teachers of the Year Finalists included:

Elementary (TK-3) Level      School                                    District

Gaylyn Barker                        Patricia Kay Beaver Elem.      Ceres Unified

Suzana Manriquez                 Von Renner Elementary         Newman-Crows Landing Unified

Marlo Smith                            Magnolia Elementary             Oakdale Joint Unified


Elementary (4-6) Level         School                                    District

Ilaen Marron                          La Rosa Elementary               Ceres Unified

Debbie Persons                    Sherwood Elementary            Sylvan Union

Rosario Vallejo                      Northmead Elementary          Patterson Joint Unified


Junior High Level                               SCHOOL                                       DISTRICT

Crystal Case                         Emilie J. Ross Middle              Hughson Unified

Lindsey McCloskey              Cesar Chavez Jr. High            Ceres Unified

Laura McNelis                        Mae Hensley Jr. High             Ceres Unified


High School Level                              SCHOOL                                       DISTRICT

James Hensley                        Del Puerto High                      Patterson Joint Unified

Jared Jeffries                          Turlock High                          Turlock Unified

Veronica Moreno                    Central Valley High                Ceres Unified


The Jane Johnston Civility Award was presented to Ilaen Marron from La Rosa Elementary School in the Ceres Unified School District.  The Civility Award is in honor of former SCOE Assistant Superintendent Jane Johnston, who helped launch the county-wide Choose Civility Initiative in 2010 and passed away unexpectedly in April 2012.  Johnston was a member of the Modesto Rotary Club, co-chaired the Teacher of the Year Program, and was active with the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County.  The Education Foundation once again honored her memory with this award.   

This is the 21st year that Modesto Rotary and SCOE have joined efforts to honor teachers in Stanislaus County.  The program not only honors local teachers and celebrates excellence in education, but also provides an opportunity for teachers to receive state and national recognition.  Two of the four Teachers of the Year will be selected, through an interview process, to represent Stanislaus County in the State Teacher of the Year Program.  One state winner then proceeds to the national level.

“It’s an honor to partner with Rotary to recognize these outstanding teachers – each who helps inspire and shape the lives of students in our county each and every day,” said County Superintendent of Schools Scott Kuykendall.

Sponsors of the Stanislaus County Teacher of the Year program include the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation, Stanislaus County Office of Education, Nasco and Mocse Credit Union.



Date Published: 
Wednesday, May 8, 2019