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Sacramento County Office of Education Sacramento County Office of Education

Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2017 Announced

San Juan and Elk Grove Unified Teachers Advance to State Competition

Two first grade teachers are the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2017. The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) made the announcement September 16 at a countywide teacher recognition dinner.

Nichole Harshbarger teaches 1st grade at Kingswood K-8 in the San Juan Unified School District. George Helms teaches 1st grade at Arnold Adreani Elementary School in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Both teachers are now eligible to advance to the statewide competition where five teachers will be chosen as California Teachers of the Year.

A selection committee comprised of education professionals, including previous Sacramento County Teachers of the Year, interviewed the local district Teachers of the Year and selected the two winners. All of the school districts within the County of Sacramento, local charter schools, and SCOE, are invited to participate in the program each year. Larger districts are eligible to nominate two teachers.

Outgoing Teachers of the Year Stephanie Smith (Sacramento City Unified) and Jennifer Ruby (Robla) announced the names of the honorees. Sacramento County Board of Education President Jacquelyn Levy presented the winners with the Elinor Lincoln Hickey Award of Merit, the highest honor bestowed by the County Board of Education. Robert Tamblyn, representing the Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry, awarded perpetual trophies to the County Teachers of the Year.

The 16 Sacramento-area teachers will be honored at two Teacher Appreciation Nights, one hosted by the Sacramento Kings and another hosted by the Sacramento River Cats.

Previous Sacramento County Teachers of the Year are listed online.

The Sacramento County Teachers of the Year Program is presented by SCOE in partnership with the Sacramento Kings, the Sacramento River Cats, Intel Corporation Folsom, SAFE Credit Union, and Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry.​​


​​ ​Teachers of the Year 2017 Chosen by Sacramento-Area School Districts
Theresa Lunsford
Theresa Lunsford
Center Joint Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Wilson C. Riles Middle School
Algebra, Pre-Algebra, Support Math
Crystalynn Buda
Crystalynn Buda
Charter Schools Association Teacher of the Year 2017
Futures High School
World History & AP Psychology
George Helms portrait

George Helms • Selected as County TOY 2017
Elk Grove Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Arnold Adreani Elementary School
1st Grade
Denise Knorr portrait
Denise Knorr
Elk Grove Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Florin Elementary School
6th Grade
Janice Johnson portrait
Lindsy Brajkovic
Elverta Joint School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Elverta Elementary and Alpha Middle School
K-6th Grade Math, Reading, Writing, Full Inclusion Program, 7th and 8th Grade Math
Deborah Andrus portrait
Deborah Andrus
Folsom Cordova Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Cordova High School
10th Grade Honors English, Yearbook Advisor, Department Chair
Heather Gohn portrait
Heather Gohn
Natomas Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Bannon Creek Elementary School
3rd Grade
Kendall Murphy portrait
Kendall Murphy
River Delta Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Walnut Grove Elementary School
1st Grade
Kristen Swanson portrait
Kristen Swanson
Robla School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Main Avenue School
5th Grade
Daniel Crenshaw portrait
Daniel Crenshaw
Sacramento City Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Rosemont High School
Integrated Math II & III
Carrie Meagher Relles portrait

Carrie Meagher Relles
Sacramento City Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Phoebe A. Hearst Elementary School
Kindergarten
Patricia Buckholz portrait
Patricia Buckholz
Sacramento County Office of Education Teacher of the Year 2017
Speech, Language, and Hearing
Infant Development Program/Special Education
Nichole Harshbarger portrait
Nichole Harshbarger • Selected as County TOY 2017
San Juan Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Kingswood K-8
1st Grade
Brad Ward portrait
Brad Ward
San Juan Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Mesa Verde High School
Freshman English, Honors English, AVID
Suzy Brusca portrait
Suzy Brusca
Twin Rivers Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Frontier Elementary School
5th–6th Grade
Jennifer Jim portrait
Jennifer Jim
Twin Rivers Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2017
Foothill High School
Band, Orchestra, AP Music Theory, AVID


Geroge Helms and Nichole Harshbarger holding plaques and trophies

George Helms and Nichole Harshbarger were selected as County Teachers of the Year.​


[Photo Gallery]


District Teachers of the Year Featured on SECC TV

The Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC) is re-broadcasting the awards program, along with interviews SCOE conducted with the district Teachers of the Year, on Comcast channel 16/AT&T U-Verse channel 99/Consolidated Communications channel 22 and streaming on the SECC website.


Awards Program
Tuesday, 10/4/16 (7 p.m.)
Thursday, 10/6/16 (12:15 p.m.)
Saturday, 10/8/16 (7 a.m.)

SCOE Studio Interviews (Part 1)
Tuesday, 10/18/16 (7 p.m.)
Thursday, 10/20/16 (12:15 p.m.)
Saturday, 10/22/16 (7 a.m.)

SCOE Studio Interviews (Part 2)
Tuesday, 10/25/16 (7 p.m.)
Thursday, 10/27/16 (7 a.m.)
Saturday, 10/29/16 (7 a.m.)