A school bus drops off students at Mira Mesa High School on the first day of school. Photo by Chris Stone

Thirty-three local teachers recognized by their districts for outstanding teaching have been nominated as San Diego County Teachers of the Year.

Five will be named the 2021-22 San Diego County Teachers of the Year at a special reception on Sept. 10 as part of the 31st annual “Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers.” National television personality and San Diego Magazine food writer Troy Johnson, a native San Diegan who attended both Mt. Carmel and Poway High, will serve as host for the evening.

In partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education, Cox Communications will produce a one-hour television special to recognize local teachers, spotlight the teachers of the year, and share highlights from the reception. The show will air at 9 p.m. on Oct. 17 on YurView Network (Cox Channel 4 and 1004 in high definition).

Presented by San Diego County Credit Union, “Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers” recognizes the county’s 26,000 public school teachers and will feature musical and dance performances by local students leading up to the announcement of the five teachers of the year, who will represent the region while vying for California Teacher of the Year honors.

For 31 years, Cox Communications, in partnership with the county Office of Education, has produced and televised “Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers” to honor San Diego County’s public school teachers for their commitment to their students and the teaching profession. In addition to SDCCU, sponsors include Procopio, KPBS, iHeart Radio, The Mightier 1090, and The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The 33 nominees for teachers of the year were selected by their respective school districts. The five county teachers of the year will be chosen based on student achievement, professional development and community involvement, teaching philosophy and personal style, knowledge of educational issues and trends, promotion and development of the teaching profession, accountability, and ability to serve as ambassadors of education.

Here the finalists for teachers of the year:

School DistrictTeacherSchool
Bonsall Unified School DistrictDebbie Hoffman          Bonsall Elementary
Cajon Valley Union School DistrictLindsey Schantz           Chase Avenue Elementary
Coronado Unified School DistrictKathleen CottenCoronado Middle
Encinitas Union School DistrictArlene Oyagi    La Costa Heights Elementary
Escondido Union High School DistrictLaura Reyes    Central Elementary
Escondido Union School DistrictMitchell de Neve           Bear Valley Middle
Fallbrook Union Elementary School DistrictTic Srinalack    Potter Junior High
Grossmont Union High School DistrictAna Nosal        Mount Miguel High
Grossmont Union High School DistrictTiffany Jokerst West Hills High
La Mesa-Spring Valley School DistrictTony Sandoval Parkway Middle
Lemon Grove School DistrictJacquelyn Jourdane     San Altos Elementary
Mountain Empire Unified School DistrictAndrea  Denlinger         Campo Elementary
National School DistrictAmy Wert                     Ira Harbison Elementary
Oceanside Unified School DistrictAlyssa Schrom Del Rio Elementary
Oceanside Unified School DistrictXye Sanders    César Chávez Middle
Poway Unified School DistrictTasha Giffin     Del Norte High
Poway Unified School DistrictCarlos La Grange         Westview High
Poway Unified School DistrictJulie SpychalskiTwin Peaks Middle
Ramona Unified School DistrictHeather McClain           James Dukes Elementary
San Diego County Office of EducationKeri Gravette    Davila Day School
San Diego Unified School DistrictFrancia PinillosT.R.A.C.E. Alternative School
San Diego Unified School DistrictRenee Thomas Marston Middle
San Diego Unified School DistrictSharon  Apple  Hoover High
San Diego Unified School DistrictThomas Courtney         Chollas-Mead Elementary
San Diego Unified School DistrictLupe Celedon   Creative Performing Media Arts (CPMA) Middle
San Pasqual Union School DistrictJolene Mallory              San Pasqual Union Elementary
San Ysidro School DistrictJaime Abarca   Vista Del Mar Middle
Santee School DistrictTeresa  Elliott   Carlton Hills School      
Solana Beach School DistrictDawn Butler     Solana Ranch Elementary
Sweetwater Union High School DistrictSarah Kesty     Castle Park Middle
Sweetwater Union High School DistrictMarina Dillingham         Bonita Vista High
Sweetwater Union High School DistrictIvy Medrano     East Hills Academy
Sweetwater Union High School DistrictGregory Simpson         Chula Vista High
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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.