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Sacramento County Office of Education Sacramento County Office of Education

Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2018 Announced

Sacramento City Unified and SCOE Teachers Advance to State

A culinary arts teacher who works with special education students and a high school English teacher are the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2018. The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) made the announcement August 25 at a countywide teacher recognition dinner.

Jeff Zahniser teaches culinary arts at Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School, a SCOE campus that provides education to special needs students. Rebecca Siegert McGill is an AP English teacher and Senior Project Coordinator at Rosemont High School, in the Sacramento City Unified School District.

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 Sacramento County, 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 Nichole Harshbarger (San Juan Unified) and George Helms (Elk Grove Unified) announced the names of the honorees. Sacramento County Board of Education President Brian M. Rivas presented the winners with the Elinor Lincoln Hickey Award of Merit, the highest honor bestowed by the County Board of Education. Tony Russell, representing the Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry, awarded perpetual trophies to the County Teachers of the Year.

All 16 Sacramento-area teachers will be honored during special Teacher Appreciation Nights hosted by both the Sacramento Kings and 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, SCOE School of Education, and Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry.


Teachers of the Year 2018 Chosen by Sacramento-Area School Districts
Leah Winter Dean portrait
Leah Winter Dean
Center Joint Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Arthur Dudley Elementary School
2nd Grade
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 3:24)
Sara Meece portrait
Sara Meece
Charter Schools Association Teacher of the Year 2018
California Montessori Project (American River)
7th & 8th Grade Math & Science
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:29)
Jennifer Hilleary portrait

Jennifer Hilleary
Elk Grove Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Florin High School
Beginning & Intermediate EL, Social Science, SDAIE US History, Women’s Studies, EL Coordinator, Men’s Varsity Head Soccer Coach
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:12)
Elsa Lyon portrait
Elsa Lyon
Elk Grove Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Elizabeth Pinkerton Middle School
7th–8th Grade Looped Class (Humanities and Honors Humanities)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 1:52)
Jessica Cisneros-Elliott portrait
Jessica Cisneros-Elliott
Folsom Cordova Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Walnutwood High School
9th–12th Grade Independent Study
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:12)
Brooke Beckett portrait Brooke Beckett
Galt Joint Union High School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Galt High School
Technology & Engineering
Studio Interview (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:36)
Derek D. Dykstra portrait
Derek D. Dykstra
Natomas Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Inderkum High School
Calculus, Trigonometry, IB Mathematics SL, Link Crew Coordinator
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 3:09)
Stephen Wright portrait
Stephen Wright
River Delta Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Isleton Elementary School
Kindergarten
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:53)
Marcos Ornelas portrait
Marcos Ornelas
Robla School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Main Avenue Elementary School
6th Grade (now 4th Grade)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:05)
Elizabeth Henrikson portrait
Elizabeth Henrikson
Sacramento City Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Sutter Middle School
7th Grade Language Arts & History
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 3:29)
Rebecca Siegert McGill portrait

Rebecca Siegert McGill • Selected as County TOY 2018
Sacramento City Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Rosemont High School
AP English, English 12P, LEAD Program & Senior Project Coordinator
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:55)
Jeff Zahniser portrait
Jeff Zahniser • Selected as County TOY 2018
Sacramento County Office of Education Teacher of the Year 2018
Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School
Culinary Arts
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 4:13)
Vanessa Liby portrait
Vanessa Liby
San Juan Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Sierra Oaks K–8
7th & 8th Grade English
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:28)
Christine Teachout portrait
Christine Teachout
San Juan Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Harry Dewey Fundamental Elementary School
5th–6th Grade Looped Class
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:36)
Suzy Brusca portrait
Laura Bingham
Twin Rivers Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Regency Park Elementary School
Kindergarten
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:56)
Michael Hilmon Cook, Jr. portrait
Michael Hilmon Cook, Jr.
Twin Rivers Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Grant Union High School
World & US History
Banquet Speech (YouTube)Closed Captioned logotype (runtime 2:58)

Rebecca Siegert McGill and Jeff Zahniser

Rebecca Siegert McGill and Jeff Zahniser 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, 10/17/17 (7 a.m.)
Thursday, 10/19/17 (noon)
Saturday, 10/21/17 (7 a.m.)
Replay on YouTube

SCOE Studio Interviews (Part 1)
Tuesday, 10/3/17 (7 p.m.)
Thursday, 10/5/17 (noon)
Saturday, 10/7/17 (7 a.m.)

SCOE Studio Interviews (Part 2)
Tuesday, 10/10/17 (7 a.m.)
Thursday, 10/12/17 (noon)
Saturday, 10/14/17 (7 a.m.)