Two Orange County educators and one from Los Angeles County were among five named Friday as 2022 California Teachers of the Year.
Teachers are chosen for the honor based on a variety of factors, including their rapport with students, classroom environments, presentation skills and teaching techniques. According to the California Department of Education, the winning teachers “have gone above and beyond during a challenging time in education, and in our lives.”
Local teachers receiving the honor were:
— Alondra Diaz, a third-grade general education and dual immersion teacher at Ralph A. Gates Elementary School in Lake Forest, in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District;
— Sovantevy Long-Latteri, a special education teacher at La Sierra High School in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District; and
— Virginia Vasquez, an AP Language and Composition teacher at San Gabriel High School in the Alhambra Unified School District.
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond nominated Diaz as the state’s representative in the National Teacher of the Year competition. The winner of that honor will be announced in the spring.
Other state Teachers of the Year announced Friday were Nichi Avina, a middle school science teacher at Cielo Vista Charter School in the Palm Springs Unified School District in Riverside County, and Tiffany Jokerst, a ninth- through 12th-grade mathematics and engineering teacher at West Hills High School in the Grossmont Union High School District in San Diego County.
“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,” Thurmond said in a statement. “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.”