CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (May 4, 2022) — The Contra Costa County Office of Education this week announced the four teachers who have been selected 2022-23 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year finalists and Natasha Paul of Mt. Diablo High School is one of those four finalists.
Besides the Concord teacher, Serina Culleton (Moraga School District/Donald L. Rheem Elementary School), Chavonta Edington (San Ramon Valley Unified School District/Diablo Vista Elementary School) and Paula L. Rathert (Walnut Creek School District/Murwood Elementary School). The announcements came on the day that marks National Teacher Appreciation Day which celebrates teachers in the classroom throughout the country.
The four were selected from a pool of 18 district teachers of the year, including Katalina Gallo of MDHS. County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey made the announcements in surprise visits to each of the finalist’s classrooms with the help of their principal and school administration, 32nd District PTSA Vice President Velma Wilson, and their families and colleagues.
“Congratulations to our four 2022-23 Teacher of the Year finalists,” said Mackey. “The four teachers were selected from a talented pool of educators who are all focused on providing an exceptional educational experience for their students, and serve in leadership roles at their school and school district communities. These teachers exemplify what teachers do every day which is go above and beyond for the education and well-being of their students.”
Two of the four finalists will be chosen Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year. The announcement will be made at the 50th-annual Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year celebration at Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Thursday, Sept. 22. To purchase tickets for the event, visit the Lesher Center website. General admission tickets are $25 through Labor Day and $35 after that. Tickets can also be acquired by making a donation to the program at cocoschools.org/TOYDonors.
An English teacher at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord, Paul has been teaching for 19 years. She has taught English Language Development for the last six years. After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, she was compelled to leave her corporate job in human resources to become a teacher and return to her alma mater. She co-leads the Architecture, Construction, Manufacturing and Engineering (ACME) Academy, is a Teacher Induction and Support Program mentor and piloted an Equitable Grading Professional Learning Community last year.
For more information on the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year program or to donate, visit cocoschools.org/toy.
2022-2023 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Nominees
- Sarah Frank, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High School
- Kathleen Brown, Brentwood Union School District, Edna Hill Middle School
- Bernadette Geer, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary School
- Christina Carter, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Contra Costa Adult School
- Maya Nelson, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High School
- Mackenzie Tovani, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary School
- Claudia Windfuhr, Lafayette School District, Stanley Middle School
- Crystal Shaw, Liberty Union High School District, Heritage High School
- Jamie Nunes, Martinez Unified School District, Las Juntas Elementary School
- Serina Culleton, Moraga School District, Donald L. Rheem Elementary School*
- Katalina Gallo, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Mt. Diablo High School
- Natasha Paul, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Mt. Diablo High School*
- Makaela Huntsinger, Pittsburg Unified School District, Pittsburg Senior High School
- Georgi Cappelletti, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Tassajara Hills Elementary
- Chavonta Edington, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Diablo Vista Middle School*
- Paula L. Rathert, Walnut Creek School District, Murwood School*
- Luis F. Chacon, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Richmond High School
- Nashon Williams, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Lovonya DeJean Middle School
- Ellen Coatney, Contra Costa County Community College District, Contra Costa College
Notes regarding eligible participants
- * indicates 2022-23 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Finalist
- 14 of the 18 Contra Costa County school districts represented, and the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.
- Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for their outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition but will be recognized at the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Celebration.
- Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, Mt. Diablo USD, San Ramon Valley USD and West Contra Costa USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.