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Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2018 Announced

Sacramento City Unified and SCOE Teachers Advance to State

Rebecca Siegert McGill and Jeff Zahniser

Rebecca Siegert McGill and Jeff Zahniser were selected as County Teachers of the Year.

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
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

Sara Meece portrait

Sara Meece
Charter Schools Association Teacher of the Year 2018
California Montessori Project (American River)
7th & 8th Grade Math & Science
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

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
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

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)
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

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
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

Brooke Beckett portrait

Brooke Beckett
Galt Joint Union High School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Galt High School
Technology & Engineering
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

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
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

Stephen Wright portrait

Stephen Wright
River Delta Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Isleton Elementary School
Kindergarten
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

Marcos Ornelas portrait

Marcos Ornelas
Robla School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Main Avenue Elementary School
6th Grade (now 4th Grade)
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

Elizabeth Henrikson portrait

Elizabeth Henrikson
Sacramento City Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Sutter Middle School
7th Grade Language Arts & History
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

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
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

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
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

Vanessa Liby portrait

Vanessa Liby
San Juan Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Sierra Oaks K–8
7th & 8th Grade English
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

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
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

Laura Bingham portrait

Laura Bingham
Twin Rivers Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2018
Regency Park Elementary School
Kindergarten
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube)

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
Studio Interview (YouTube)
Banquet Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:58)