|Joan Scott (left), TI's director of Community Relations in Silicon Valley, with the California Teachers of the Year and Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson.
Together with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, TI helped recognize the state's most innovative and inspirational educators at the 2012 California Teacher of the recently in Sacramento.
"At TI, we believe that effective and inspiring teachers are the key to success in education. We are proud to support the California Teacher of the Year Program and join them in recognizing these outstanding teachers," said Joan Scott, TI community relations director in Silicon Valley. "In addition to teacher recognition, the program provides a forum for these exemplary educators to share best practices, improving education throughout California and the United States."
TI has continued sponsorship of the event that National Semiconductor had provided for more than a decade. TI's sponsorship helped provide $1,000 cash awards to the five California Teachers of the Year.
TI also provided each of the 12 finalists a TI-Nspire CX graphing calculator and a Dell M110 ultra-mobile projector (which includes TI's DLP® technology). The teachers were thrilled with the recognition, check and technology from TI.
"Considering the tremendous accomplishments of these teachers, and knowing that they do so much in these austere economic times, made it wonderful to see the excitement on their faces when they heard what they would each receive," said David Hermosillo, TI Educational Technology consultant who supports teachers and their use of technology in their classrooms.
Rigorous selection process
Every year, the California Department of Education conducts a rigorous process including a written application, classroom visit and an interview with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to select the top Kindergarten-12th grade teachers in the state.
A selection committee consisting of administrators, representatives from professional organizations, and teachers make the final decision, selecting the five California Teachers of the Year and seven finalists.
This year's winners included Florence Avognon, a reading intervention teacher at Phoenix House Academy, a residential high school in Los Angeles where teens can make up schooling lost to drug addiction.
In her acceptance speech, Florence talked about the importance of teaching her students to "see beyond" their current lives to envision a brighter future. One of her former students, now a successful businesswoman, was in the audience to cheer her on.
Tom Collett, a middle school science teacher from Newark, Calif., uses magic and fun activities to get students excited about science.
In addition to his creative teaching style, he developed a student-run science center that includes a planetarium and an aquarium with 13 large saltwater tank exhibits, a 1,000-gallon shark tank, a tide pool touch tank and a Moon Jelly tank.
As one of his students put it: "You never know what Mr. Collett has up his sleeve. Everything is always interesting and fun."
Learn more about the California Teacher of the Year program here.