October 15, 2021
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces 2022 California Teachers of the Year
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today named five exceptional educators as the 2022 California Teachers of the Year. These educators are ambassadors for the profession and serve as representatives of the state for the calendar year. Thurmond, who has 12 years of direct experience in education— teaching life skills classes, after-school programs, and career training—said he is thrilled to honor five outstanding and talented teachers who have gone above and beyond during a challenging time in education, and in our lives.
“In what may be the toughest ever time for California families, students and educators, these five innovative and caring teachers have made profound differences in the lives of their students and communities,” said Thurmond. “I’m proud that these educators are receiving this prestigious honor for their continued effort to connect with students even during unimaginable circumstances, to address their needs, and support them in any way they can.”
Presented by California Casualty and supported by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage and inspire new teachers to enter the profession.
2022 California Teachers of the Year
Alondra Diaz, who is a third-grade general education and dual immersion teacher at Ralph A. Gates Elementary School in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Orange County. Thurmond also nominated Diaz as California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. Diaz will compete against other state nominees, and the 2022 National Teacher of the Year will be announced in the spring.
Nichi Avina, who is a middle school science teacher at Cielo Vista Charter School in the Palm Springs Unified School District, Riverside County.
Sovantevy Long-Latteri, who is a special education teacher at La Sierra High School in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Orange County.
Tiffany Jokerst, who is a ninth- through twelfth-grade mathematics and engineering teacher at West Hills High School in the Grossmont Union High School District, San Diego County.
Virginia Vasquez, who is an AP Language and Composition teacher at San Gabriel High School in the Alhambra Unified School District, Los Angeles County.
2022 California Teachers of the Year Finalists
Alisyn Blanton, who is a fifth-grade teacher at Miguelito Elementary School in the Lompoc Unified School District, Santa Barbara County.
Jessica Jung, who is a third-grade, multiple-subject teacher at Bridges Academy at Melrose in the Oakland Unified School District, Alameda County.
Kathleen Magana, who is a fifth-grade Elementary Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher at Garretson Elementary School in the Corona-Norco Unified School District, Riverside County.
Kristan Morales, who is a ninth- through twelfth-grade mathematics teacher and site technology coach at Chaparral High Schoolin the Temecula Valley Unified School District, Riverside County.
Erica Viray Santos, who is a Social Science and Social Justice teacher at San Leandro High School in the San Leandro Unified School District, Alameda County.
Julie Silk, who is a first-grade Dual Language Immersion teacher at Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy in the Pasadena Unified School District, Los Angeles County.
County offices of education nominate California Teachers of the Year applicants through their county-level competitions. California Department of Education (CDE) selection committees review applications; evaluate teachers' rapport with students, classroom environments, presentation skills, and teaching techniques; and interview the teachers. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction then selects the five California Teachers of the Year and the National Teacher of the Year nominee.
For more information on the award program, please visit the CDE's California Teachers of the Year web page. Visit the Teach California website for more information on becoming a teacher.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100