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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #17-35
May 11, 2017
Contact: Cynthia Butler
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates
Juvenile Court, Community, and Alternative Schools
Administrators of California Teacher of the Year

TRUCKEE, CA—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated Ron Kunnen of the Stanislaus County Office of Education for being named the 2017 Juvenile Court, Community, and Alternative Schools Administrators of California (JCCASAC) Teacher of the Year.

Kunnen, known as “Coach K” to his students, teaches construction trades at the Stanislaus Military Academy in Turlock.

“Teaching in alternative education requires a certain character, dedication, and spirit that not only connects with these students but also inspires them to learn and invest in their future,” Torlakson said. “Ron’s commitment to his students and his unwavering belief in their abilities helps them to believe in themselves.”

Kunnen has been in education for eight years. His students receive real-world industry experience while learning about community participation. Kunnen’s classes have worked with Habitat for Humanity on home construction projects, built more than 30 free community “little libraries,” and constructed tables and benches for the Stanislaus County Office of Education outdoor education program, Foothill Horizons, which serves more than 6,500 sixth graders annually.

Kunnen’s supportive and compassionate mentoring style makes a lasting impact on his students, including one who wrote:

“I learned many valuable lessons with Mr. Kunnen. He taught us to treat ourselves with the respect we deserve.”

To select the Teacher of the Year for this organization, each county office of education nominates one court, community, or alternative education school teacher. All nominees must meet certain criteria including having at least five years of teaching experience, two of which must be in county office alternative education programs. The JCCASAC board reviews applicants and selects the winner.

Kunnen will be honored today at a special Teacher of the Year luncheon ceremony during the JCCASAC state conference at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe in Truckee. Ten Teacher of the Year nominees will also be recognized. For more information about JCCASAC, visit the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association JCCASAC State Conference Web page.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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