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Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2001 Announced

District Teachers of the Year Honored at Awards Dinner


​Two educators have been selected to represent Sacramento County teachers in the statewide Teachers of the Year competition, slated for October 2000.

At the annual county-wide awards dinner held September 11 at the Sacramento Hilton, the following were announced as "Teachers of the Year 2001" for Sacramento County: Craig Faniani, music teacher at Rio Americano High School (San Juan Unified School District), and Michael Laharty, special education/vocational education teacher at Leo A. Palmiter High School (Sacramento County Office of Education). Faniani and Laharty each received a commemorative Award of Merit from the Sacramento County Board of Education—its highest honor—and they will share possession of a perpetual trophy presented by the Sacramento Scottish Rite.

Faniani and Laharty were among 16 teachers recognized Monday evening as "Teachers of the Year 2001" for their respective school districts. Each of the 16 honorees was escorted by his or her superintendent and principal, and introduced by a current or former student. Serving as master of ceremonies for the evening was Bret Burkhart, Newstalk 810 AM.

Next Step: Statewide Competition​​

Sacramento County Teachers of the Year Craig Faniani and Michael Laharty now advance to the statewide competition, 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 2001. 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 late October by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Additional information is available from the California Department of Education.

Kings to Honor Teachers of the Year During 2000–01 NBA Season

The Sacramento Kings will recognize all 16 Teachers of the Year at the Kings vs. Vancouver Grizzlies NBA game Friday, February 2, 2001. Tickets for the game will be available to all teachers, parents, and schools at a discounted price. Ticket order forms are available by contacting the Sacramento Kings at (916) 928-8117.​

About the Sacramento County Teachers​ of the Year 2001

Craig Faniani, a resident of Fair Oaks, has been a teacher for 20 years. He is in his 19th year of teaching music at Rio Americano High School within San Juan Unified School District. Under his direction, the school music program has flourished, winning numerous awards as well as providing college scholarship opportunities for musically inclined students.

Michael Laharty, a Sacramento resident (neighborhood of CSUS and La Riviera Drive), has been a teacher for 22 years, seven of them as a Vocational Specialist working with special education students at the Sacramento County Office of Education’s Leo A. Palmiter High School campus. The school’s Culinary Café, Step-Up Program, and Gourmet Garden are just three of the programs Laharty has helped implement to provide opportunities for special needs students to successfully transition from "school to world."

About the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year Program

All 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 in the fall to interview each district Teacher of the Year and select the two finalists. Sixteen teachers representing 12 school districts and the Sacramento County Office of Education participated in the Teachers of the Year 2001 Program. The Sacramento County Teachers of the Year Program is presented by SCOE in partnership with Maloof Sports & Entertainment, 3-D International, and the Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry. Information about the program is available by calling (916) 228-2222.

Craig Faniani conducting

One of two Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2001, Craig Faniani

Michael Laharty with students

One of two Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2001, Michael Laharty