2023 Stanislaus County Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

The Modesto Rotary Club and the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) will honor the 12 Stanislaus County Teacher of the Year Finalists and announce the selection of four as 2023 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year at a Rotary luncheon on May 2 at the DoubleTree Hotel. The four selected as Teachers of the Year will each receive a $1,000 cash award from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation. Mocse Credit Union also sponsors the event and provides funding for the awards and decorations.
Teachers were nominated by their principals, and finalists were selected from 62 nominees representing 13 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 2023 Teachers of the Year Finalists are:

Elementary (TK-3) Level      SCHOOL                                               DISTRICT

Jennifer Benitez                  Mary Ann Sanders Elementary         Sylvan Union

Lauren Brown                      Magnolia Elementary                         Oakdale Jt. Unified

Kristina Hart                         Hidahl Elementary                             Ceres Unified

Elementary (4-6) Level         SCHOOL                                              DISTRICT

Sarah Flora                          Walnut Elementary                             Turlock Unified

Bret Shaeffer                       Hughes Elementary                             Empire Union

Jeff Warn                              Cardozo Middle                                   Riverbank Unified

JUNIOR HIGH LEVEL             SCHOOL                                            DISTRICT

Terry Daniels                        Waterford Jr. High                             Waterford Unified

Pollyanne Hicks                    Ross Middle                                       Hughson Unified

Rachel Torres                        Oakdale Jr. High                                Oakdale Jt. Unified

HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL           SCHOOL                                               DISTRICT

Brad Cornwell                        Enochs High                                        Modesto City

Kelly Hayes                            Whitmore Charter High                      Ceres Unified

Michael Schilperoort             Downey High                                       Modesto City

The Jane Johnston Civility Award will be presented 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, co-chaired the Teacher of the Year Program, and was active with the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County.  The Education Foundation will honor her memory by presenting a $1,000 check and a Jane Johnston Civility Award to one of the 12 finalists who best exemplifies the principles of civility.
This is the 24th 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 young students in our county on a daily basis,” 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, and Mocse Credit Union.

Date Published: 
Friday, April 21, 2023