At the annual awards dinner held September 23 at the Sacramento Hilton, the following were announced as 1999 Teachers of the Year for Sacramento County: TAFFY MAURER, 6th grade teacher at Madison Elementary School in the North Highlands area (Rio Linda Union School District) and DEBBIE VIGIL, physical education teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in the South Natomas area (Natomas Unified School District). Maurer and Vigil were awarded a perpetual trophy presented each year by the Sacramento Scottish Rite and now advance to the California Teachers of the Year competition.
Maurer and Vigil were among 14 teachers recognized Wednesday evening as 1999 Teacher of the Year for their respective school districts. Among those present at the dinner were the honorees' superintendents and principals. Each district Teacher of the Year was introduced by a current or former student. Presiding over the evening's events was special guest Monica Woods of FOX 40 News.
Taffy Maurer, a resident of Rio Linda since 1976, has been a teacher for 12 years. She is in her ninth year of teaching sixth grade at Madison Elementary School. She has served as a mentor teacher, as a trainer of new teachers, and has fulfilled many roles in the development of innovative curriculum and educational programs.
Debbie Vigil, who lives in the Antelope area, has taught physical education for students grades K-6 at Jefferson Elementary School for the past nine of her 14 years as an educator. She has received numerous awards—including her selection in 1994 as National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and in 1992 as recipient of the Honor Award presented by Arnold Schwarzenegger on behalf of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
All of the school districts within the County of Sacramento, along with the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE), are invited each year to participate in the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year Program. Because of their size, three districts—Elk Grove, Sacramento City and San Juan Unified—are eligible to submit two entries. Each district's Teacher of the Year completes a comprehensive application packet, which includes an extensive biography and answers to questions ranging from personal philosophy of teaching to an understanding of current educational issues. A community selection committee comprised of education professionals, including previous Teachers of the Year, meets mid-September to interview each district Teacher of the Year and select the two finalists. Fourteen teachers representing 12 school districts participated in the 1999 Teachers of the Year Program.
Taffy Maurer and Debbie Vigil now advance to the statewide competition, out of which five teachers will be chosen as California Teachers of the Year. The five California Teachers of the Year are responsible for representing the teaching profession in a variety of settings and assisting their teaching colleagues in numerous ways throughout the calendar year of 1999. Their names, and that of the one individual of the group to be selected as the state's nominee to the National Teacher of the Year Program, will be announced in early November by the California Department of Education. Salvador Arriaga, Coordinator of the California Teachers of the Year Program, may be contacted for additional information at (916) 657-2926.
Sacramento school district's Teachers of the Year will be honored individually by their districts throughout the calendar year and by the Sacramento Kings NBA team at a special halftime presentation, set for January 24, 1999 (Kings vs. New Jersey Nets) at ARCO Arena. Each of the 14 Teachers of the Year and a guest will be hosted by the Kings for a pre-game dinner in the ARCO Arena Skyline Lounge Restaurant and will view the basketball game from complimentary seats. Tickets for the Kings vs. Nets game are available to all teachers and schools at a discounted price; interested persons may receive a ticket order form by contacting Carl Kuhn at (916) 928-8117.
The Sacramento County Teachers of the Year program is presented by the Sacramento County Office of Education in conjunction with the Sacramento County School Boards Association. Sponsors include the Sacramento Kings/Knight/Monarchs and the Sacramento Kings Community Foundation, 3-D International, and the Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry.