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Five extraordinary educators and CTA members have been named as the 2018 California Teachers of the Year:

CTOY Brian McDaniel

Brian McDaniel

Brian McDaniel, Palm Springs Teachers Association, teaches music at Painted Hills Middle School in Desert Hot Springs. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who announced the five Oct. 11, also nominated McDaniel as California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. McDaniel will compete against other state nominees for 2018 National Teacher of the Year, to be named in the spring.

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Jaime Brown

Jaime Brown, San Diego Education Association, teaches International Baccalaureate English and film studies to seniors at San Diego High School of International Studies in Santee.

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Kirsten Farrell

Kirsten Farrell, United Teachers Los Angeles, teaches sports medicine at Venice High School in Los Angeles. She is the lead for the Sports Medicine Academy and serves as Sports Medicine Team facilitator.

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Gregory Gardiner

Gregory Gardiner, Huntington Beach Union High School District Educators Association, teaches Advanced Placement and special abilities cluster environmental science and biology at Edison High School in Huntington Beach.

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Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin

Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin, Castaic Teachers Association, teaches first and second grade at Northlake Hills Elementary School in Castaic.

In announcing the winners, Torlakson noted that the educators have made a great impact in their schools and communities.

“These teachers are deeply committed, hardworking and creative,” he said. “They help students find their inner strengths and achieve their dreams, while inspiring, challenging and supporting them every day. They represent the best of their profession.”

Torlakson also stressed that because of California’s teacher shortage, it is important to get the word out about the rewards of being a teacher.

“Teaching isn’t just a job. It isn’t just a career. It’s a calling. It’s a commitment to your community, your students, and most of all, a commitment to the future.”

The 2018 California Teachers of the Year, finalists and semifinalists will be honored by Torlakson at a gala in Sacramento Feb. 12, 2018.


The California Teachers of the Year Program

Presented by California Casualty and the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage new teachers to enter the profession.

County offices of education nominate educators through their county-level competitions. A state selection committee reviews candidates’ applications and conducts site visits to evaluate teachers’ rapport with students, classroom environment, presentation skills, and teaching techniques.

The teachers are interviewed by the California Department of Education (CDE). The state superintendent then selects the five awardees.

For more information, see the CDE’s California Teachers of the Year page.