San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year Announced

SJCOE special education teacher moves forward as California Teacher of the Year nominee

The San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) is excited to announce that Rachel Hernandez has been named the 2020 San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year.  

As San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year, Hernandez received $1,000 from Premier Community Credit Union, a longtime supporter of educators in San Joaquin County.  Hernandez’s nomination will now be submitted to the state for consideration as California Teacher of the Year.

Hernandez has taught in the SJCOE Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program for 18 years and currently teaches students at Sierra High School in the Manteca Unified School District. She was nominated by Katy Eyer, SJCOE special education director.

"Rachel is passionate about her students' access and equality in education. She works very closely with the general education teachers on her campus for mainstreaming and integrates students into the campus culture," Eyer said, noting that two of Hernandez's students graduating high school this year had also been her students as kindergartners. "Her students are more like family, and she is able to share in their accomplishments with them. Rachel pours her heart and soul into her students and their education."

When asked about her approach to teaching, Hernandez said she tries to find what will work for each individual student. "I've taught the same book at the same time to different students, and how I present it to one student is completely different to how I present it to another. The story is identical. The book is identical. But how that student learns -- how they understand, how they grasp it, how they relate it to self and life -- all that varies," she said. "It's really making sure that my students can connect in their own way, with their own understanding, and with their own minds."

The winner of the award is typically announced at the annual San Joaquin County Classified Employees and Teacher of the Year Awards Celebration Dinner. However, due to COVID-19, the June event was canceled.

This year, the winner was announced on the SJCOE Facebook page (@sjcoefb) following a week of online recognition for all San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year finalists  at bit.ly/2WrrOBj

Each finalist also received $400 from Premier Community Credit Union.  They are:

  • Linda Davis, Shasta Elementary School, Manteca Unified School District 
  • April Egusquiza, Farmington Elementary School, Escalon Unified School District
  • Laura LaRue, Bear Creek High School, Lodi Unified School District
  • Laura Sudderth, Lincoln Elementary School, Manteca Unified School District

The county Classified School Employees of the Year winners were announced earlier this year. Each winner received $400 from Premier Community Credit Union and is nominated to be California School Employee of the Year. They are:

CHILD NUTRITION
Rodney Carruesco
Child Nutrition Department Delivery Driver, Stockton Unified School District

MAINTENANCE, OPERATIONS, AND FACILITIES
Maria Barragan
Sierra High School Custodian, Manteca Unified School District

OFFICE AND TECHNICAL
Raquel Babauta
District Office Secretary, Ripon Unified School District

PARA-EDUCATOR AND INSTRUCTIONAL ASSISTANCE
Rose Craighead
Paraprofessional, Shasta Elementary School, Manteca Unified School District

SUPPORT SERVICES AND SECURITY
Veronica Lynch
Communications Specialist, Stockton Unified School District

 

About Premier Community Credit Union: 

Premier Community Credit Union was founded in 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression.  A handful of local educators gathered to form a nonprofit, financial cooperative – Stockton Teachers Credit Union – to provide much needed personal financial services to educators.  Over the past 81 years, the credit union has grown and thrived, while maintaining its strong ties to the education community.To share the financial services with other parts of the community, the credit union has expanded the benefits of membership to all of San Joaquin County communities.  While it expanded, Premier Community Credit Union has always been dedicated to the education community in San Joaquin County – one of the reasons why they are proudly sponsoring the Classified Employees and Teacher of the Year Awards Celebration Dinner.  Standing true to the credit union philosophy of “people helping people,” Premier Community Credit Union is ready to service the needs of the education community as well as the broad communities it serves in San Joaquin County. For more information, visit www.premierccu.org.

 

About Teacher of the Year and Classified Employee of the Year:
In 1972, California began recognizing outstanding teachers for their dedication and commitment. Since that time, three County Teachers of the Year, Paulette Bogetti (1992), Jeff Wright (2000), and Art Coleman (2003) went on to be selected as California Teacher of the Year. Each district, through their superintendent’s office, may submit up to three candidates for consideration for the County Teacher of the Year. For more information about California Teacher of the Year, go to www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/ct/. For more information about California Classified School Employee of the Year, go to www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/cl/.

Posted: 7/17/2020