Sixty-two teachers were celebrated for “Teaching with Heart” at the 2024 Orange County Teachers of the Year ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel on Monday, Nov. 6.
The annual dinner, hosted by the Orange County Department of Education, welcomed each honoree — and their guests — in recognition of their care and commitment to providing students with a quality education.
“Orange County classrooms are spaces where empathy, respect and integrity are nurtured alongside academic growth,” said OCDE Deputy Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes. “This year’s theme, ‘Teaching with Heart,’ perfectly captures the approach of teaching professionals who mold young minds not just with information, but with compassion and purpose.”
The ceremony was emceed by actor and director William Allen Young and PBS SoCal producer Maria Hall-Brown, with opening remarks from Dr. Miramontes. Guests were treated to musical performances throughout the event by the Darryl Walker Project and students from Oxford Academy in the Anaheim Union High School District.
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union sponsored the event and awarded all nominees with a personalized gift and a cash prize of $500.
The Orange County Teachers of the Year Award Foundation, established by William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross, contributed cash awards to each of the nominees in recognition of their efforts to support, equip and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.
Each finalist was awarded $25,000 by the foundation while the semifinalists received $7,500 and the nominees took home $5,000 each. Since the program’s inception, the Gross family has donated more than $4.5 million to more than 1,750 teachers.
This year’s six finalists — who were announced in April — were highlighted throughout the night via video features produced by OCDE’s Media Services team.
“On behalf of the Orange County Department of Education, I wish to congratulate the 2024 Orange County Teachers of the Year for their well-deserved recognition, and I wish to commend all who embody the ‘Teaching with Heart’ ethos,” Dr. Miramontes said. “As you light the path for the next generation, you are building a legacy that lives on forever.”