Kern County’s Teachers of the Year announced


Kern County Superintendent of Schools Larry E. Reider, Teacher of the Year alternate Teresa Bruce, winner Allison Arnold, alternate Guadalupe Quinonez, winner Teresa Casallas and Kern County Associate Superintendent of Schools Christine Frazier.


Kern County Associate Superintendent of Schools Christine Frazier (left) and Kern County Superintendent of Schools Larry E. Reider (far right) congratulate KCSOS Teacher of the Year Nominees Tammera Bruce and Pamela Dobrenen.

Sierra Middle School science teacher Allison Arnold and West High science teacher Teresa Casallas were honored April 21 as Kern County’s Teachers of the Year for 2008-09. They will represent Kern County in the California Teacher of the Year competition along with alternates Kathleen Bruce, a biology teacher at Golden Valley High, and Guadalupe Quinonez, a fourth grade dual immersion teacher at Voorhies Elementary. California Department of Education (CDE) sponsors the annual California Teacher of the Year program. Local sponsors include Chevron, California Retired Teachers Association-Kern County Division, Colombo Construction, Costco, J P Morgan Chase and Company, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, National University and Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc.

Arnold and Casallas along with Bruce and Quinonez selections were announced at a reception hosted by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools (KCSOS) at the Kern County Museum to honor the 37 county teachers nominated for the award by their schools and districts. A committee of educators and volunteers reviewed all the applications. Recent site visits were made to the top candidates’ schools. All 37 nominees received plaques and certificates.

Arnold, who teachers AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) in addition to science, has been teaching for five years.  Arnold feels that her greatest achievement as a teacher is seeing English learners go from being shy, reserved kids into hard working dedicated and fully participatory students. Arnold also is a green crusader and her students are involved in a variety of environmental projects. She is founder of the school’s Kids Solar Energy Program as well as the Green Team.  

Casallas, a teacher for the past 7-years, firmly believes that in America everyone has an equal opportunity for success. It’s a belief that comes from the heart. In her biography, Casallas shares her parents escape from post war Vietnam and how they reached America. She remembers her parents’ stories of fear and heartache, but most of all hope for a better life in America. In the classroom Casalles strives to make the curriculum relevant to her students. She does this through hands-on activities, real-world applications and academic rigor. Casallas believes that the biggest issue facing public education today is the widening achievement gap among diverse student groups.

For alternate Bruce, teaching is a second career, her first being medical which she takes to the classroom every day. A teacher for the past 10 years, Bruce writes about the high expectations she has of her students. When surveying her students, she found they "never knew what color her hair would be, or her nails or what clothes she would wear. They also never knew what to expect. They did know that it would be fun and Bruce would work hard to make sure they understood."

Alternate Quinonez is the daughter of two limited-English speaking farm-worker parents. Quinonez, a teacher for 26-years, knew from the beginning she was expected to go to college. She has a quiet presence about her, but when you walk into her classroom, you’ll find 39 well behaved, hard working students. Quinonez has the ability to motivate high-risk students to desire to learn. She tutors students from all grade levels and takes hard to handle students under her wing. The reception also provided a forum to recognize three Kern County teachers for achieving National Board Certification. They are: Aimee Luter and Susie Terry C Bakersfield City School District and Laura Whipple - Kern High School District.

The intent of the CDE Teacher of the Year program is to:

  • Identify and honor outstanding teachers throughout California;
  • Select five teachers to serve as California Teachers of the Year for 2008-09 who will represent the state’s teachers and stand for positive contributions to the teaching profession;
  • Focus public attention on the positive accomplishments of California teachers and students;
  • Identify one teacher for competition in the National Teacher of the Year Program.

2009-10 Kern County Teachers of the Year Nominees

Allison Arnold, Bakersfield City School District - Sierra Middle School
Joan Deming, Bakersfield City School District - Curran Middle School
Scott Floyd, Bakersfield City School District - Stiern Middle School
Amy Hanson, Bakersfield City School District - College Heights School
Guadalupe Quiñónez, Bakersfield City School District - Voorhies School
Sharon Ghilarducci, Buttonwillow Union School District - Buttonwillow Elementary School
Lynnette Mello, Delano Joint Union High School District - Delano High School
Charles Isaacs, Elk Hills School District - Elk Hills School
Sherrie Anderson, Greenfield Union School District - Valle Verde Elementary School
Shirden Prince, Greenfield Union School District - Horizon Elementary School
Tammera Bruce, Kern County Superintendent of Schools - McKinley School
Pamela Dobrenen, Kern County Superintendent of Schools - Community Learning Center
Howard Adams, Kern High School District - Herbert E. Martin Center
Kathleen Bruce, Kern High School District - Golden Valley High School
Marvin Bultman, Kern High School District - Ridgeview High School
Teresa Casallas, Kern High School District - West High School
Judy Castro, Kern High School District - Shafter High School
Melanie Castro, Kern High School District - Centennial High School
Sue  Glenn, Kern High School District - Liberty High School
Scott Manzer, Kern High School District - Foothill High School
Ken  Meyers, Kern High School District - Arvin High School
Art Sherwyn, Kern High School District - Stockdale High School
Darren Willis, Kern High School District - Highland High School
Jeff  Bogart, Kernville Union School District - Wallace Middle School
Brandon Bates, Lamont School District - Myrtle Avenue School
Kristal Hicks, Lost Hills Union School District - Lost Hills Elementary School
Diane Masi, Maple School District - Maple School
Waynette Mohr, Mojave Unified School District - Ulrich Elementary School
Betty Moore, Muroc Joint Unified School District - Desert Junior High School
Lynn Atmore, Panama Buena Vista Union School District - Loudon School
Charles E. Heard, Panama-Buena Vista Union School District - Panama School
Dawn Godbehere, Rosedale Union School District - Freedom Middle School
Annette Thomey, South Fork Union School District - South Fork Middle School
Bree Davis, Standard School District - Highland Elementary School
Amy Watkins, Tehachapi Unified School District - Tehachapi High School
Deana Linstead, Wasco Union Elementary School District - Prueitt School
Brian Bell, Wasco Union High School District - Wasco Union High School

National Board Certified Teachers
Aimee Luter - Bakersfield City School District
Susie Terry - Bakersfield City School District
Laura Whipple - Kern High School District

For more information, please contact Merry McCalley, school-community partnerships director, at (661) 636-4522.

Print This Page   Email This Page