Two OCDE teachers named among the 25 best by Parenting OC magazine

Two Orange County Department of Education educators were named finalists for Parenting OC’s 2018 Top Teachers of Orange County Awards.

Janet Dicker photo
Janet Dicker
Allen Witten, teacher at Sunburst Academy, surrounded by students
Allen Witten, center

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.”

The OCDE Newsroom recently feature Witten for his class project where he 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.

“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