Stanislaus County honors four Teachers of the Year for 2013

naustin@modbee.comMay 7, 2013 

    alternate textNan Austin
    Title: Education reporter
    Coverage areas: K-12 education, Yosemite Community College District
    Bio: Nan Austin has been a copy editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 24 years. She has an economics degree from CSU Stanislaus and previously worked at the Merced Sun-Star and Turlock Journal.
    Recent stories written by Nan
    On Twitter: @nanaustin

— The Stanislaus County 2013 Teachers of the Year were announced by Modesto Rotary and the Stanislaus County Office of Education at a luncheon Tuesday.

• Michelle Cardoso, a third-grade teacher at Earl Elementary School in Turlock, won the K-3 division.

• Jamie Garner, a sixth-grade teacher in the Walnut Elementary Discovery Math Science Magnet in Turlock, took the 4-6 division title.

• Aimee Shepherd-Matlock, a physical science teacher at Roosevelt Junior High in Modesto, captured junior high division honors.

• Heidi Pagani, a math instructor at Beyer High in Modesto, was the high school division winner.

• The Jane Johnston Civility Award was presented to Niki McCoy from Fair Oaks Elementary School in Oakdale.

All five will receive a $1,000 cash award.

The civility award is named for late SCOE Assistant Superintendent Jane Johnston, who helped launch the countywide Choose Civility Initiative. Johnston was a member of the Modesto Rotary and served as co-

chairwoman of the Teacher of the Year Program.

Teachers were nominated by their principals; finalists were selected from 70 nominees representing 16 school districts in Stanislaus County. A selection committee, composed of Rotarians and educators, narrowed the nominations through a paper screening process and then visited the classrooms of the 12 finalists.

Cardoso, a 20-year teaching veteran, is sought out by parents and students because of her innovative teaching style, said Earl Principal Tami Truax. "She has an amazing talent for inspiring every student through lessons that are relevant, engaging, inspiring and unique," Truax said in her nomination.

Garner's name was put forward by Walnut Principal Mark Holmes. "Her instructional focus and level of organization are phenomenal," Holmes said.

Shepherd-Matlock has improved life at Roosevelt for 12 years, said Principal Nathan Schar. "Students love and appreciate her firm, yet caring, style, and most state her class is their favorite," he said.

Pagani, who started the robotics and engineering pathway at Beyer, was picked for instructional excellence, said Principal Dan Park. "There is constant interaction with students. She calls on them randomly to participate in class, utilizes technology, has students draw conclusions and utilizes writing in her math classes," he said.

This is the 15th year that Modesto Rotary and SCOE have joined efforts to honor Stanislaus County teachers. Two of the four Teachers of the Year will be selected through an interview process to represent Stanislaus County in the State Teacher of the Year Program.

"Someone once said, 'Good teachers are to education what education is to all other professions — the indispensable element, the sunlight and oxygen, the foundation on which everything else is built,' " said county Superintendent Tom Changnon. "It is truly an honor to partner with the Rotary to recognize these outstanding teachers — each who has helped shape the lives of young students in our county."

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