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Sacramento County Office of Education Sacramento County Office of Education

Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2012 Announced

Teachers from San Juan Unified and Elk Grove Unified Advance to State Competition

A French teacher from the San Juan Unified School District and a math and physics teacher from the Elk Grove Unified School District are the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2012, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) announced August 31 at a countywide teacher recognition banquet.

Nicole Naditz, who teaches French at Bella Vista High School in the San Juan District, and Robert Brewer, who teaches mathematics and physics at Florin High School in Elk Grove, were selected from among 15 Sacramento-area teachers to represent the county in the California Teachers of the Year competition.

A community selection committee comprised of education professionals, including previous Teachers of the Year, interviewed each local district Teacher of the Year and selected the two finalists.

All 15 Sacramento-area teachers will be honored when the Sacramento Kings host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at Power Balance Pavilion. The Sacramento River Cats will also host a special Teacher Appreciation Night on Friday, April 27, 2012 when the River Cats host the Tucson Padres.

All of the school districts within the County of Sacramento, along with the Sacramento County Office of Education, are invited each year to participate in the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year Program. Larger districts are eligible to submit two entries. Eleven local districts including the Sacramento County Office of Education participated this year. Each district's Teacher of the Year completed a comprehensive application packet, which included an extensive biography and answered questions ranging from personal philosophy of teaching to an understanding of current educational issues.

During the awards banquet, each district Teacher of the Year was introduced by either a current or former student. David W. Gordon, County Superintendent of Schools, and trustees from the Sacramento County Board of Education, presented each of the Teachers of the Year with an inscribed award.

Outgoing Teachers of the Year Shannan Brown and Kadhir Rajagopal, who also were two of the five 2011 California Teachers of the Year, announced the names of their successors. Sacramento County Board of Education President Brian Cooley presented the winners with the Elinor Lincoln Hickey Award of Merit, the highest honor bestowed by the County Board of Education. Lew Wentworth, representing the Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry, awarded a perpetual trophy to the County Teachers of the Year.

Nicole Naditz and Robert Brewer are now eligible to 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 2012. Their names, along with the name of the individual selected as the state's nominee to the National Teacher of the Year Program, will be announced later in the fall by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Past Sacramento County Teachers of the Year are listed online.

The Sacramento County Teachers of the Year Program is presented by the Sacramento County Office of Education in partnership with Maloof Sports and Entertainment, the Sacramento River Cats, U.S. Bank, the Intel Corporation Folsom and the
Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry.


​​Teachers of the Year 2012 Chosen by Sacramento-Area School Districts
Monica Smith Monica Smith
Center Joint Unified School District Tea​cher of the Year 2012
Cyril Spinelli Elementary School
Special Day Class

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 1:34)

Robert Brewer

Robert Brewer • Selected as County TOY 2012​​​
Elk Grove Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Florin High School
Algebra 1, CP Physics, AP Physics

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:48)

Paul Cordero Paul Cordero
Elk Grove Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Charles Mack Elementary School
6th grade, now teaching 1st grade

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:32)

Curtis Gaesser Curtis Gaesser
Folsom Cordova Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Folsom High School
Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, Orchestra, Choir

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:10)

Sean Duncan Sean Duncan
Galt Joint Union High School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Liberty Ranch High School
Physics, Biology, NRG Energy

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 3:14)

Jeff Galindo Jeff Galindo
Natomas Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Natomas Middle School
Beginning & Advanced Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, Choir

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 4:08)

Mandi Friedel Mandi Friedel
River Delta Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
D. H. White Elementary School
3rd grade; Reading Intervention

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:30)

Sarah Neuhaus Sarah Neuhaus
Robla School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Main Avenue Elementary School
5th Grade; now Principal at Glenwood Elementary School

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 0:49)

Tiffany Ballard Tiffany Ballard
Sacramento City Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Sam Brannan Middle School
8th Grade Language Arts/7th and 8th Grade US History/Leadership

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 3:01)

Kari Zimny Kari Zimny
Sacramento City Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Albert Einstein Middle School
Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Band

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:31)

Benjamin Diaz Benjamin Diaz
Sacramento County Office of Education Teacher of the Year 2012
Bannon Creek Elementary School
Special Education

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 1:13)

Kalei Eskridge 

Kalei Eskridge
San Juan Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Teacher on Special Assignment; Professional Learning & Innovation Department

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:09)

Nicole Naditz Nicole Naditz • Selected as County TOY 2012​​​
San Juan Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Bella Vista High School
French 1-4, AP French

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:03)

Kenneth Durham, Jr. 

Kenneth Durham, Jr.
Twin Rivers Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Secondary Education

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:36)

Kathleen Ventura Kathleen Ventura
Twin Rivers Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2012
Creative Connections Arts Academy
Curriculum Support Coach, formerly 7th and 8th Grade Math

Studio Interview (YouTube)
Awards Speech (YouTube) (runtime 2:15)

2012 Sacramento County Teachers of the Year logoNicole Nadits, David Gordon, and Robert Brewer
Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon (center) congratulates the Sacr​amento County Teachers of the Year 2012: Nicole Naditz and Robert Brewer.
Teo Torres, Nicole Naditz, and Robert Brewer
After being announced as Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2012 at the August 31 recognition banquet, Nicole Naditz and Robert Brewer were interviewed the following morning on the KCRA 3 News at 7 a.m. on MY58.

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