Allen Witten, a teacher at Sunburst Academy in Los Alamitos, and Janet Dicker, a teacher at OCDE’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Venado Middle School in Irvine, are among 25 honorees for the magazine’s annual award.
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.)
“Receiving this distinguished recognition is a great honor and a reflection of the exceptional group of educators and military personnel at Sunburst Youth Academy,” Witten said. “I am most grateful to be a small part of our dedicated and highly motivated team who work tirelessly to help our students achieve their dreams.”
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.
“I am truly humbled and honored with this recognition, although I do not feel like I’m any more deserving than any of my other stellar DHH colleagues,” she said.
“I feel so fortunate to work in such a fantastic DHH program and I’m very proud of the education and support services we provide to Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and their families living within Orange County.”
Of the 25 honorees, one will be chosen as Orange County’s Top Teacher and revealed Feb. 7 at a ceremony at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, where the Top 25 Teachers will be also celebrated. The winner will appear on the cover of the magazine’s March 2018 issue.
Additionally, the magazine will name top teachers in a dozen individual categories, including STEM Educator of the Year, Inspiring Educator of the Year and Project-based Educator of the Year.
Here is the complete list of the 25 honorees:
Donna Dowicki, Far Horizons Montessori School
Danielle Allison, Acaciawood School
Socorro Ament, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School
Dav Grace, Edison High School
Mark Bantle, Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School
Alexandra Easton, San Juan Hills High School
Jennie Sandvig, Palisades Elementary School
Candy Mack, Los Alisos Intermediate School
Lois Chow, Pacific Drive School
Rich Simons, El Modena High School
Nancy Wilder, The Pegasus School
Annie Shaw, Heritage Oak Private Education
Matthew Smith, Red Hill Lutheran School
Lisa Tarkoff, Red Hill Lutheran School
Jeremiah Cobra, VanDamme Academy
Michelle Brady, Huntington Seacliff Elementary School
Laura Hines, Oakridge Private School
Vanessa Patterson, Fairmont Private School – Historic Anaheim Campus
Ann Petersen, St. John’s Episcopal School
Allen Witten, Sunburst Youth Academy (OCDE)
Roy LoPorto, St. Angela Merici Parish School
Jason Lawrence, Santa Margarita Catholic High School
John David Williams, Brea Junior High School
Janet Dicker, Venado Middle School (OCDE)
Violaine El-Basri, International School of Los Angeles