Searching for Teachers of the Year

Annual hunt for California's best yields alumni gold

Autumn is more than “back to school” season for public school teachers; it is also the time of year when many county offices of education name their teachers of the year.

It’s all part of a program sponsored by the California Department of Education since 1972 – the year after National University was founded. The University’s School of Education follows the program closely, and for good reason. In the past 20 years, 95 National University alumni have been named County Teachers of the Year in 15 counties throughout the state.

Furthermore, 12 of those 95 alumni (13 percent of the total) have gone on to be named California Teacher of the Year – a distinction that recognizes the best educators in the most populous state in the Union.

Among that elite dozen, some have been chosen to represent California in the U.S. Teacher of the Year competition. One, Sandra McBrayer (Credential, 1988) was named the best teacher in America in 1994 and was ultimately invited to the White House to be honored by the President of the United States.

So each year at this time, National University watches closely as the state’s 58 counties complete the process of recognizing the cream of the crop among California’s 295,000 public school teachers. For the past 10 consecutive years, at least one graduate or credential completer has been named as a San Diego County Teacher of the Year.

A total of 36 alumni have earned distinction as Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year; and Orange, San Bernardino, Santa Clara and Sacramento Counties can boast at least four alumni Teachers of the Year each.

So far for the 2015-2016 academic year, three National University alumni and a currently enrolled student have been named as County Teachers of the Year. Their names and brief profiles are included below.

The California Department of Education is currently conducting site visits to select county offices of education to interview candidates for 2015-2016 California Teachers of the Year. They will be announced at the end of the month. National University currently has a seven percent chance of one of its alumni being named again.

This year’s Teacher of the Year alumni are as follows:

Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year, Martha Garibay

Madera County Teacher of the Year, Steven Browning

Riverside County Teacher of the Year Brian Harris

San Diego County Teacher of the Year, Doug Green