Apr 7, 2016
1 comment

A teacher in El Cerrito and another in Pinole have been nominated for Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year honors, it was announced Wednesday.

Lawrence Pang, a math teacher at El Cerrito High, and Kristyn Loy, a sixth grade math and science teacher at Stewart K-8 School in Pinole, are among 21 teachers out of a total 8,401 in the county selected for the long-running Teachers of the Year program.

Both teachers were also recently named as two of five 2016 Teaching Excellence Award winners by the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund.

The selected teachers are now eligible to enter a competition among teachers that includes an extensive screening process. Their applications will be reviewed by committee, and chosen teachers will have their classroom instruction observed. Finalists will be asked to give a speech before a dozen-member panel.

In September, two Teachers of the Year will be announced and will represent the county at the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

“We are immensely proud of these amazing educators,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools, in a statement. “They were thoughtfully chosen to represent their schools and districts, and truly represent what is best about public education.”

Here’s the list of nominees for Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year:

Jamie Cackler Bennetts, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Cynthia Boyko, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High

Rachael Byron, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High

Krystal Figaroa, Pittsburg Unified School District, Stoneman Elementary

Erin Flanigan, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Daniel Yoshio Haley, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, El Dorado Middle

Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Valley View Middle

Judy Jernigan, Lafayette School District, Lafayette SD Schools

Kristyn Loy, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Stewart Elementary

Judy Mazur, Walnut Creek School District, Buena Vista Elementary

Vicki McGuire, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter Elementary

Aminta Mickles, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College

Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary

Dayle Okamitsu, Orinda Union School District, Wagner Ranch Elementary

Lawrence Pang, West Contra Costa Unified School District, El Cerrito High

Deborah Guillén Rocchild, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High

Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High

Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Creekside Elementary

Juliet Simens, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elementary

Angela Taylor, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Parole Education Program Oakland Computerized Literacy Learning Center

Sarah Vieira, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Sixteen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, and the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.
  • Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Contra Costa College’s turn.
  • Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates

Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter: #CoCoTOY

Photo courtesy of the West Contra Costa Unified School District


  1. Nice photos–must have had a good photographer. 🙂

    Don Gosney | Apr 7th, 2016

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.