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These four Stanislaus County teachers are truly at the head of the class

The Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year for 2019 are, from left, Jared Jeffries of Turlock High School, Debbie Persons of Sherwood Elementary School, Crystal Case of Ross Middle School and Gaylyn Barker of Beaver Elementary School.
The Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year for 2019 are, from left, Jared Jeffries of Turlock High School, Debbie Persons of Sherwood Elementary School, Crystal Case of Ross Middle School and Gaylyn Barker of Beaver Elementary School.

Stanislaus County has named its Teachers of the Year for 2019, following class visits and other measures of their ability.

The Modesto Rotary Club and the county Office of Education announced the four winners at a DoubleTree Hotel luncheon Tuesday, May 7. Further interviews will determine which two will compete for statewide honors.

The results of the 21st annual county contest:

  • Pre-kindergarten to third grade: Gaylyn Barker of Patricia Kay Beaver Elementary School in Ceres won. The other finalists were Suzana Manriquez of Von Renner Elementary School in Newman and Marlo Smith of Magnolia Elementary School in Oakdale.
  • Fourth to sixth grade: Debbie Persons of Sherwood Elementary School in Modesto won. The other finalists were Ilaen Marron of La Rosa Elementary School in Ceres and Rosario Vallejo of Northmead Elementary School in Patterson.
  • Junior high: Crystal Case of Ross Middle School in Hughson won. The other finalists were both from Ceres — Lindsey McCloskey of Cesar Chavez Junior High School and Laura McNelis of Mae Hensley Junior High School.
  • High School: Jared Jeffries of Turlock High School won. The other finalists were James Hensley of Del Puerto High School in Patterson and Veronica Moreno of Central Valley High School in Ceres.

Principals nominated a total of 69 teachers for the awards. A team of Rotarians and educators screened the nominees and visited the classrooms of 24 semi-finalists.

The four winners each received $1,000 from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation and a $650 gift card from Nasco, a school supply seller. Mocse Credit Union also helped with the event.

The annual Jane Johnston Civility Award is presented to one of the 12 finalists. This year, it was Ilaen Marron. The award is named for an assistant superintendent at the Office of Education who died suddenly in 2012.

Capitol-worthy art

Kaylee Harvey of Tracy High School won the grand prize in the District 10 portion of the Congressional Art Competition for 2019. Her acrylic painting, “Fragmental Beauty,” will hang at the U.S. Capitol for a year along with other district winners around the nation.

Second place went to Lyza Marie Stevens of Sierra High School in Manteca for her charcoal work, “Abbygale.” It will be displayed in the Washington, D.C., office of Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock.

Marissa Joelle Ireta of Modesto Christian High School placed third with “My Favorite Things,” done with colored pencils. It will be displayed at Harder’s district office on Sisk Road.

Harder announced the winners from more than 70 entries during a gathering at Mistlin Art Gallery in downtown Modesto. High school artists have competed since 1982.

And finally ...

Best RV Center in Turlock donated $21,000 to the United Way in a fourth annual campaign. The dealership near Taylor Road gave $100 for every vehicle sold in January. The money went to the United Way chapter in each buyer’s hometown.

The campaign helps the United Way of Stanislaus County connect people to social services through the 211 call center, said Francine DiCiano, president and CEO. It also supports Focus on Prevention, a multi-partner effort against homelessness and other problems.

Best promoted the campaign with a free taco truck and radio broadcasts on January weekends. It is the top-selling dealer of towable vehicles in California.

“We have been very successful in the RV business for over 10 years and want to help others lead successful lives as well,” co-owner Naiel Ammari said in a news release.

Names of Note recognizes people and organizations for their contribution to their communities. Submit items to jholland@modbee.com.

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