First grade teacher Beth Bremer from Wren Avenue Elementary School of the Arts in Concord is one of two Mt. Diablo Unified School District 2020-21 Teachers of the Year in the county-wide program conducted through the Contra Costa County Office of Education.
Dylan Bland, a science teacher at College Park High, is the other Teacher of the Year from MDUSD.
The upcoming school year’s 22 TOYs represent 17 of 18 Contra Costa school districts, Contra Costa Community College District and CCCOE. Those representatives who teach grades K thru 12 are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two top teachers in the county TOY program will represent the county in the California State TOY Program this fall.
CCCOE says the 22 Teachers of the Year are not only recognized for their outstanding education achievements, but they also represent the approximately 8,600 teachers educating more than 177,000 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, MDUSD and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.
After obtaining a BS in business administration/finance at Cal Poly SLO Bremer started a 15-year career in technology with a financial institution.
When she decided she needed a career change, she enrolled at Saint Mary’s College to get a teaching credential while also raising her two young sons. Bremer mentions her 4th grade teacher in southern Wisconsin, Mrs. Youngren “who was like no other teacher before or after,” as the one who inspired her to consider teaching.
She taught at El Monte, Bancroft and Shore Acres elementary schools in the district before coming to Wren Avenue in 2013. Her new principal this year, Celeste Graybill, says Bremer is also the school webmaster, CARES after school program teacher liaison and visual arts leader.
Since all school grounds closed Mar. 13, she has been facilitating distance learning for her home-bound students and working with their families to provide materials and guidance in this challenging time. She is also keeping the entire Wren Avenue School community updated on the website.
On her Wren Avenue School website page, Bremer says, “I come from a large family and grew up in the Midwest. I have two sons and two cats, and I love living in California. Teaching is my second career and my passion.”
Wren Avenue is one of three MDUSD magnet elementary schools clustered in Concord serving kindergarten through fifth grade with unique focuses: the arts at Wren Avenue, Holbrook Language Academy and Sun Terrace STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Magnet.
Simply the best
“We are extremely proud of the Teachers of the Year, Class of 2020-2021,” reports Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey. “When you review their TOY applications and their heartfelt letters of recommendation, it is quite evident that these teachers were thoughtfully selected to represent their schools and school districts, while at the same time truly embody what is best about public education in Contra Costa County.”
The county’s TOY program is coordinated by the CCCOE. Due to the Covid-19 emergency, this year’s selection process includes application screening by a 5-member committee that will whittle the candidates to four finalists.
Those four will be interviewed by a panel of educators and former teachers of the year in late May. On July 24, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.
Announcement of the two 2020-2021 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year will take place at the tentatively planned Teacher of the Year Dinner Gala at the Hilton Concord on Sept. 24, pending the COVID-19 Shelter in Place directive from county health.
2020-2021 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives
- Marlene Miranda, Acalanes Union High School District, Las Lomas High School
- Robert Vieria, Antioch Unified School District, Antioch Middle School
- Karen Neilson, Brentwood Union School District, Garin Elementary School
- Jennifer Krey Byron Union School District, Excelsior Middle School
- Thomas Barber, Contra Costa Community College District, Diablo Valley College
- Ellyn Hustead, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Mt. McKinley School
- Kellyn M. Jew, John Swett Unified School District, Rodeo Hills Elementary School
- Shirley Ann Padgett, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary School
- Christina Nitsos, Lafayette School District, Lafayette Elementary School
- Lyndsie J. Memory, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High School
- Amber Love-Snyder, Martinez Unified School District, Las Juntas Elementary School
- Brett Lorie, Moraga School District, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School
- Beth Miller Bremer, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Wren Avenue Elementary School
- Dylan Bland, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, College Park High School
- Kathy Reinders, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Vintage Elementary School
- Katherine Sahm, Orinda Union School District, Del Rey Elementary School
- Taylor Leonna Smith, Pittsburg Unified School District, Rancho Medanos Junior High School
- Sarah Clancy, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Live Oak Elementary School
- Courtney Konopacky, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Stone Valley Middle School
- Petra Sauve, Walnut Creek School District, Parkmead Elementary School
- Cesar Dante-Barragan, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Cesar Chavez Elementary School
- Jesus Alfredo Galindo, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Lincoln Elementary School
Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter and Instagram at #cocotoy
For more about the California Teacher of the Year program, click here.