CTA Congratulates Educators Named the 2021 California Teachers of the Year
Contact Gabriella Landeros at 323-406-3270
Educators recognized for their outstanding work in unprecedented times with California’s students and communities
BURLINGAME — The California Teachers Association (CTA) celebrates the five extraordinary educators named as the 2021 California Teachers of the Year, who are also all CTA members. The teachers were selected by the Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond after an extensive process that began at the county level. Presented by California Casualty and supported by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage new teachers to enter the profession.
“On behalf of the 310,000-member California Teachers Association, congratulations to these outstanding educators, who have gone above and beyond during a difficult time in our nation’s history to adapt to its challenges and still meet the needs of students across our state. Since the pandemic started, educators did not waste a second to completely learn a new style of teaching while finding ways to connect to their students in new, innovative ways. Their profound impact on the lives of students will be remembered for years to come.”
-E. Toby Boyd, CTA President
The 2021 California Teachers of the Year are:
Jim Klipfel (Hart District Teachers Association), who is a ninth- through twelfth-grade Social Studies and Athletics teacher at Saugus High School in the William S. Hart High Union School District, Los Angeles County. Thurmond also nominated Klipfel as California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. Klipfel will compete against other state nominees, and the 2021 National Teacher of the Year will be announced in the spring.
Allison Cyr (Desert Sands Teachers Association), who is a third-grade, multiple-subject teacher at Lyndon B. Johnson Elementary School in the Desert Sands Unified School District, Riverside County.
Keisa Brown (Riverside City Teachers Association), who is a seventh- and eighth-grade Introduction to Spanish and AVID 8 teacher at University Heights Middle School in the Riverside Unified School District, Riverside County.
Laura E. Gómez Contreras (Santa Ana Educators’ Association), who is a third-grade multiple-subject teacher at Martin Elementary School in the Santa Ana Unified School District, Orange County.
Nora Wynne (McKinleyville Teachers Association), who is a sixth- through eighth-grade Spanish teacher at McKinleyville Middle School in the McKinleyville Union School District, Humboldt County.
The 2021 California Teachers of the Year Finalists are:
Cindy Evans (Marin County Educators Association), who is a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school Special Education teacher at the San Jose Intermediate Campus in the Marin County Office of Education, Marin County.
Ericca Dent (Burbank Teachers Association), who is a second-grade multiple-subject teacher at Joaquin Miller Elementary School in the Burbank Unified School District, Los Angeles County.
Frank Koroshec III (Santa Barbara Teachers Association), who is an eleventh- and twelfth-grade English teacher at San Marcos Senior High School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, Santa Barbara County.
Hazel Kight Witham (United Teachers Los Angeles), who is a tenth- and twelfth-grade English teacher at Venice Senior High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County.
Jay Tweet (Grossmont Education Association), who is a twelfth-grade AP Macroeconomics and Honors Government teacher at El Capitan High School in the Grossmont Union High School District, San Diego County.
Ross Hause (Santa Rosa Teachers Association), who is a fifth- and sixth-grade multiple-subject teacher at Luther Burbank Elementary School in the Santa Rosa Elementary School District, Sonoma County.
Shelley Romanoff Andros (Buena Park Teachers Association), who is a sixth- through eighth-grade Coding, Femineers, Horticulture, and Robotics teacher at Buena Park Middle School in the Buena Park Elementary School District, Orange County.
In a press release issued by Thurmond’s office, he said: “In a year that might be the most challenging in all of our lives, these five inspiring teachers have made profound differences in the lives of their students and communities. I’m proud that these educators are receiving this prestigious honor for their continued effort to rise above the challenges and connect with students even during unimaginable circumstances.”
County offices of education nominate California Teachers of the Year applicants through their county-level competitions. The California Department of Education selection committees review applications; evaluate teachers’ rapport with students, classroom environments, presentation skills, and teaching techniques; and interview the teachers. The State Superintendent then selects the five California Teachers of the Year and the National Teacher of the Year nominee.
For more information on the award program, please visit the CDE’s California Teachers of the Year web page.
The 310,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.