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Top of the Class: The 2024 California Teachers of the Year

Five outstanding educators from across the state — all CTA members — were named the 2024 California Teachers of the Year in October.

“They make profound differences in their students’ lives and provide both inspiration and the practical tools that students need to succeed,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony
Thurmond in a statement announcing the news. “They’re all prime examples of the exceptional work going on in California schools.”

Thurmond commended the tremendous impact the educators have had in their schools and on their students and communities, saying they “display deep commitment and innovation in their work — all while supporting their students through a difficult time.”

The five will serve as ambassadors for the profession and representatives of the state for the calendar year. Presented by the California Department of Education and supported by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor standout teachers and encourage and inspire new teachers to enter the profession.

CASEY CUNY, a member of Hart District Teachers Association, is a high school honors English and Senior Myth and Folklore teacher at William S. Hart High School and Valencia High School in the William S. Hart Unified School District (Los Angeles County).

A childhood cancer survivor, Cuny has spoken about how his teachers were instrumental during that time, especially in the aftermath; “they taught me what I was capable of and pushed me to do all these different things,” eventually inspiring him to go into teaching.

Thurmond nominated Cuny as California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. The 2024 National Teacher of the Year will be announced in the spring.

JOSEPH ALVARICO, a member of Mt. Diablo Education Association, is a high school Engineering Essentials, Introduction to Engineering Design, and honors computer teacher at Ygnacio Valley High School in the Mount Diablo Unified School District (Contra Costa County).

ANDREW “DREW” LEWIS, a member of United Teachers Los Angeles/NEA, is a high school music teacher at Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

HANNAH RODRIGUEZ, a member of Duarte Unified Education Association, is a prekindergarten special education teacher at Beardslee Dual Language Immersion Academy in the Duarte Unified School District (Los Angeles County).

GREGORY WOLF, a member of Santa Ynez Valley Teachers Association, is a high school dual-enrollment U.S. History, dual-enrollment political science, and Advanced Placement psychology teacher at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District (Santa Barbara County).

The teachers of the year will be honored at a gala in January or February 2024. They will also be recognized at CTA State Council in March 2024. For more information about the awards program and application process, visit California Department of Education, California Teacher of the Year.

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