State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond Thursday named five educators as the 2023 California Teachers of the Year, including three from Los Angeles County and one from Orange County.
“These five educators receive the prestigious honor of 2023 California Teachers of the Year for their extraordinary talents and efforts to teach young people in California during historically challenging circumstances,” said Thurmond. “Using their exceptional skills, creativity, and experience, they continue to create positive learning environments and make meaningful contributions to the academic and social-emotional needs of their students.”
The teachers of the year are:
— Jason Torres-Rangel, a high school Advanced Placement (AP) English teacher at Theodore Roosevelt High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County. Torres-Rangel was named LAUSD and L.A. County Teacher of the Year in 2022. He has been teaching for 18 years. Thurmond nominated Torres-Rangel as California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. He will compete against other state nominees for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in the spring.
— Bridgette Donald-Blue, a fourth-grade multiple subject teacher at Coliseum Street Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County.
— Catherine Borek, an AP English literature and drama teacher at Dominguez High School in the Compton Unified School District, Los Angeles County.
— Ben Case, an instrumental music and music theory teacher at Northwood High School in the Irvine Unified School District, Orange County.
— Lauren Camarillo, a high school Spanish teacher at Mountain View High School in the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, Santa Clara County.
Thurmond, who began his career as a social services worker, said he was pleased to recognize the five outstanding teachers who have had a tremendous impact in their schools, on students, and in communities, and have gone above and beyond during a challenging time in education and in our lives. He added that they are ambassadors for the profession and serve as representatives of the state for the calendar year.
County offices of education nominate California Teachers of the Year applicants through their county-level competitions. California Department of Education selection committees review applications; evaluate teachers’ rapport with students, classroom environments, presentation skills and teaching techniques; and interview the teachers. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction then selects the five California Teachers of the Year and the National Teacher of the Year nominee.
Presented by the California Department of Education and supported by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage and inspire new teachers to enter the profession.
For more information on the award program, go to the CDE’s California Teachers of the Year web page.