Preparing students to learn, grow, thrive and achieve life-long success

2017-18 Solano County Educators of the Year nominees

2017-18 Solano County Educators of the Year nominees

Jepssy Freire
Bilingual Para Educator/Community Outreach Liaison
Cleo Gordon Elementary
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
District Classified School Employee of the Year

Jepssy Freire
Jepssy Freire is the heart of Cleo Gordon. She knows all our students and their parents and takes the time to know each and every one of them personally. It amazes me that when I ask her about a student, she knows the class they are in, something special about the family, and often has history with their older brothers and sisters. Students and families confide in her, feel safe to ask her questions, and come to her regarding resources. She works with the upmost integrity and always uses her professional digression when translating and communicating about sensitive issues.

Megan Thole, Principal
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Cristina Gutierrez
Bilingual Tutor – Instructional Assistant
Franklin Middle School
Vallejo City Unified School District
District Classified School Employee of the Year
Cristina Gutierrez
I have had the privilege of working with Cristina for the last two years and I can vouch for her determination, hard work, and effectiveness. I have rarely come across a person who is so attentive to the cares and needs of our students. She never hesitates to lend an ear and provide support for all in need. She is not afraid to take on any challenge or difficult task that may arise. She is a lovable person to have around, is a hard worker and always tries to create a positive ambiance. She epitomizes all the right things we need at this school.

Adam Vedomske, Teacher
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Tammie Knott
Senior Payroll &Retirement Benefits Analyst
Business Office
Solano County Office of Education
District Classified School Employee of the Year
Tammie Knott
Tammie Knott was hired by Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) in February 2001. Tammie has held several positions within SCOE, all with equal success. With Tammie’s experience, she realized her passion was retirement and acted on the opportunity to return to work as the Sr. Payroll and Retirement Analyst in District Business Services in September 2015. Tammie is known for her high standard of performance, passion for retirement and commitment to the community that we serve. She makes an impact every day to education by supporting those who teach, support and care for our children. If payroll is not reported correctly, it can impact an educator’s retirement. Tammie is a strong voice advocating change and providing feedback to CalSTRS and CalPERS in their previous and current proposed retirement regulations. Tammie represents SCOE and other local education agencies well, striving for efficient problem-solving, and is actively involved in finding solutions to difficult challenges.

Sherry Beatty, SCOE District Business Services Director
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Angela Porter
Campus Supervisor
Benicia Middle School
Benicia Unified School District

District Classified School Employee of the Year
Solano County Classified Employee of the Year

California Classified Employee of the Year (1 of 6 winners in the state)

Angie represents all that is “good” in education. As educators, we continually talk about building relationships with our students, staff, parents and community. First impressions do matter, and Angie is the face of our school. She is the first person students see when arriving on campus in the morning. She greets every student with a smile, asks student after student, questions that reflect her knowledge about them and notices when students are having a tough day. Paulo Freire wrote in Pedagogy of Freedom, “I am dealing with people and not things. And, because I am dealing with people, I cannot refuse my wholehearted and loving attention, even in personal matters, where I see that a student is in need of such attention.” This quote epitomizes Angie Porter and her value to our school.

Damian Scott, Principal
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Debbie Thiessen
Food Service Coordinator
Dixon High School
Dixon Unified School District
District Classified School Employee of the Year

Debbie may not be the most traditional choice for an award like this. She would be the first to tell you that she can be quite cantankerous! But what she hides behind a sometimes gruff exterior is an absolute heart of gold. She goes out of her way every single day to check in with kids. She works tirelessly to make sure our students get good, nutritious meals, and she treats everyone with dignity and respect. In short, and you’ll have to forgive the food analogies here, Debbie might be salty and a little spicy, but she’s never bitter or sour, and really she’s quite sweet!

Nick Girimonte, Principal
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Alicia Topete
Para Professional
Alamo Elementary School
Vacaville Unified School District
District Classified School Employee of the Year

Every student Alicia meets loves working with her, and every staff member as well. She is truly a team player. She will work on projects, learn new material, translate phone calls and meetings with parents, and help in every other way she can. Alicia truly understands the needs of her students, and helps create an environment where everyone can learn. She works with each teacher to support academic, behavioral, and social learning in the classroom. She is patient and understanding, and brings a positive attitude each day that truly shows how much she loves her job. Alicia takes the time to understand her students on a personal level, and students love coming to class knowing they get to work with her.

Samantha Walker, Teacher
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Lee Anne Aidt
9th-12th Grade Mathematics Teacher
Benicia High School
Benicia Unified School District
District Teacher of the Year

Lee Anne is the ideal teacher. She’s the kid in class everyone hates. She always does her work and she never complains. She’s the curve breaker that doesn’t allow sub-par performance to be an acceptable behavior. Lee Anne exemplifies not only what administrators want in a teacher (knowledgeable about subject matter, accommodating standards, varying teacher strategies), but she also serves as an example of what teachers and students look for in a teacher. I have worked with Lee Anne for the past several years and I have always admired her concern for her students. I watch her as she tries to find different methodologies to “reach” that student that doesn’t want to learn. I have many athletes that would not have been eligible if not for the efforts of Lee Anne.

Alexander Tuilosega, Teacher
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Mary Baichtal
2nd Grade Teacher
Foxboro Elementary School
Travis Unified School District
District Teacher of the Year

Mrs. Baichtal is truly gifted in quickly assessing and meeting the needs of every student in her classroom. She makes it her goal to know each child as an individual and highlight their strengths while supporting their social, emotional and academic needs. She develops positive, respectful relationships with her students and provides them with an encouraging and sage classroom environment. The “Baichtal Bees” classroom theme that Mrs. Baichtal created is an age-appropriate connection for her students on the life skills of teamwork, cooperation, effort and hard work. Her students learn about taking personal responsibility and how behavior is a matter of choice.

Jessica Harris, 1st Grade Teacher
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Cindy Lederer
1st-8th Grade Physical Education Teacher
Elementary Education Services
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
District Teacher of the Year

As the lead Physical Education Specialist, Cindy holds regular meetings for every PE Specialist in our TK-12 system. They share best practices and find ways to enhance our entire program. Recently, there has been a strong emphasis on adding dance and yoga into the schools. Each of our elementary schools begin the day with five minutes of physical activity for the entire school. This idea came from Cindy Lederer. We have seen a positive impact at the schools as a result. Parents and staff are participating along with the students, which helps to start the day with a feeling of excitement and inclusion.

Kris Corey, Superintendent Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
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Tracy Ruiz
10th-12th Grade English 10P, XL and Link Crew Leadership Teacher
Will C. Wood High School
Vacaville Unified School District
District Teacher of the Year

First, “Ruiz” as she’s affectionately called by students and staff alike, is an outstanding educator. Every student I’ve ever spoken with about Tracy enjoys her classes and praises her passionate teaching, particularly her unit on To Kill a Mockingbird. In fact, both my daughter, Katie, and son, Jerrod, have taken classes with Tracy and are better writers and critical thinkers, as a result. Still, her impact is not limited to the classroom. Her passion for teaching is equaled only by her passion for helping her students be their best selves. Over the years, Tracy and I have developed a personal and profession relationship, frequently collaborating to get students involved in positive campus activities, be they leadership, athletics, or any number of other opportunities available to Wood students.

Mary Woo, Parent and Will C. Wood Track & Field/Cross Country Coach
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Martha Salazar
K-6th Grade Teacher
Anderson Elementary School
Dixon Unified School District
District Teacher of the Year

Martha represents the very best about Dixon. She lives in our community and her children have all attended our schools. She values her relationships with students, parents and colleagues and has earned the utmost respect from all of those groups. She is so hard-working, generous with her time and resources, and positive about our students and the chance to work with them. She is making a true difference with our students who are in need of the most support to learn. Martha exemplifies everything I want to see from teachers who work in our schools and I can think of no one who deserves this honor and recognition more.

Brian Dolan, Superintendent Dixon Unified School District
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Joan Sampson
Kindergarten Teacher
Glen Cove Elementary School
Vallejo City Unified School District
District Teacher of the Year

Inside Joan’s classroom, her educational strategies, techniques and abilities are above the norm. She knows how to reach our students and her test scores show that. She believes that all students can reach their greatest potential and does not give up on students. Her students remain to be hers even when they come back with their children. She attends any of her past student’s Student Success Teams, as needed. Her students, parents and colleagues sing her praises. Other teachers and staff members truly respect and are very protective of her because she is so kind. She is a model of what this field is all about; our dedication toward the future, or children.

Alexander Tuilosega, Teacher
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Judith Waelbrock, M.A.
Adult Transition Program Teacher
Golden Hills Education Center

Solano County Office of Education
District Teacher of the Year
Solano County Teacher of the Year