Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo
California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #22-49
October 13, 2022
Contact: Communications
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces 2023 California Teachers of the Year

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today named five exceptional educators as the 2023 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 began his career as a social services worker, said he is pleased to recognize the five outstanding teachers who have had a tremendous impact in their schools, on students, and in communities, and have gone above and beyond during a challenging time in education and in our lives.

“These five educators receive the prestigious honor of 2023 California Teachers of the Year for their extraordinary talents and efforts to teach young people in California during historically challenging circumstances,” said Thurmond. “Using their exceptional skills, creativity, and experience, they continue to create positive learning environments and make meaningful contributions to the academic and social–emotional needs of their students.”

Presented by the California Department of Education 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.

2023 California Teachers of the Year

Jason Torres-Rangel, a high school Advanced Placement (AP) English teacher at Theodore Roosevelt High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County

Torres-Rangel was named the LAUSD and LA County Teacher of the Year in 2022. He has been teaching for 18 years. Thurmond nominated Torres-Rangel as California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. Torres-Rangel will compete against other state nominees for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in the spring.

Catherine Borek, an AP English literature and drama teacher at Dominguez High School in the Compton Unified School District, Los Angeles County

Lauren Camarillo, a high school Spanish teacher at Mountain View High School in the Mountain View–Los Altos Union High School District, Santa Clara County

Ben Case, an instrumental music and music theory teacher at Northwood High School in the Irvine Unified School District, Orange County

Bridgette Donald-Blue, a fourth-grade multiple subject teacher at Coliseum Street Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County

2023 California Teachers of the Year Finalists

Paula Bae, a high school science, anatomy, and AP biology teacher at Hart High School in the William S. Hart Union High School District, Los Angeles County

Joanna Hendrix, a preschool, transitional kindergarten, and kindergarten deaf education teacher at Ralph Dunlap Elementary School in the Orcutt Union School District, Santa Barbara County

Shannon Klemann, a high school biology teacher at Adolfo Camarillo High School in the Oxnard Union High School District, Ventura County

Jamie Morgan, a first-grade multiple-subject teacher at Cerritos Elementary School in the Savanna Elementary School District, Orange County

Juan Orellana, a third-grade teacher at Monte Vista Elementary School in the Mountain View School District, Los Angeles County

Craig Rowe, a high school English teacher at Truckee High School in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Placer County

Mathew Schick, an instrumental music and band teacher at Crescenta Valley High School in the Glendale Unified School District, Los Angeles County

Meghann Seril, a third-grade multiple-subject teacher at Broadway Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County

Christina Taylor, a kindergarten teacher at Cabrillo Elementary School in the Fremont Unified School District, Alameda 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 External link opens in new window or tab. for more information on becoming a teacher.

# # # #

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

Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 13, 2022
Recently Posted in News Releases