On November 7, the state superintendent of public instruction, Tom Torlakson, announced the selection of California’s five 2012 Teachers of the Year.
Rebecca Mieliwocki teaches English at Luther Burbank middle school in the Burbank Unified School District and was selected to continue to the national competition to become teacher of the year.
Tom Collett of Newark Junior high school in Newark Unified School District and Shari Ann Herout, of Foxboro Elementary in the Travis Unified District were also part of the five selected. Collett teaches eighth-grade science and Herout is a kindergarten teacher.
Two teachers from Los Angeles County also made the list. Florence Avognon is an English teacher at the Phoenix Academy, and was part of the Reading Intervention Specialists Teachers program at Central Juvenile Hall before being transferred because of budget cuts. Ken LaVigne is also an English teacher at La Serna High School in the Whittier Union High School District.
“Like all teachers in California, they are struggling with budget challenges and cutbacks in programs. That is what makes them even more extraordinary,” said Torlakson.
The Teachers of the Year Program dates back to 1972 and was formed to acknowledge the growing complexity of challenges faced by the profession and the need to promote collaboration among teachers.
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