Find out who won Parenting OC magazine’s 2018 ‘Top Teacher’ award

Two OCDE educators were individually recognized on Wednesday during Parenting OC’s 2018 Top Teachers of Orange County Awards ceremony.

Allen Witten, a teacher at Sunburst Academy in Los Alamitos, won the magazine’s “Global Teacher of the Year” award, while Janet Dicker, a teacher at OCDE’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Venado Middle School in Irvine, earned the “Educator With a Heart” award.

Donna Dowicki and SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union President and CEO Bill Cheney

Donna Dowicki is presented with Parenting OC magazine’s “Top Teacher” award by SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union President and CEO Bill Cheney.

Donna Dowicki, a teacher at Far Horizons Montessori School in Orange, won the overall “Top Teacher” award at the ceremony, held at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.

Donna Dowicki is presented with Parenting OC magazine’s “Top Teacher” award by SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union President and CEO Bill Cheney.This recognition is separate from OCDE’s Orange County Teachers of the Year program, which throws a dinner celebration at the Disneyland Hotel each fall and sends nominees to compete for California Teacher of the Year honors. (SchoolsFirst is that event’s premier sponsor as well.)

In November, the OCDE Newsroom featured Witten for a class project that encouraged students to promote a crowdfunding program that supports education and anti-poverty initiatives across the globe.

Dicker has taught for 21 years at OCDE’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Venado. She currently teaches reading, English and American Sign Language.

A total of 25 teachers from public and private schools from across Orange County were named finalists for the magazine’s annual awards. Of these finalists, a dozen won in individual categories, including “STEM Educator of the Year,” “Inspiring Educator of the Year” and “Project-based Educator of the Year.”

The magazine will feature the award winners and finalists in its March issue. Dowicki will appear on the magazine’s cover.