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 Teachers from Sweetwater, San Diego, Escondido, Valley Center, Grossmont Named 2009 Teachers of the Year

​Five phenomenal teachers were named 2009 San Diego County Teachers of the Year on September 20, culminating the annual Academy Awards-style Cox Presents A Salute to Teachers at downtown San Diego’s historic Balboa Theater.

The new County Teachers of the Year are:

(a href="/announce/Ballardapplication.PDF" target="_blank")Theodosia Ballard(/a), who teaches fifth-graders at Walter J. Porter North Elementary in the San Diego Unified School District and is in her 14th year as a teacher;

Alex Kajitania mathematics teacher in his eighth year as a teacher, known on his Mission Middle School/Escondido campus as “the Rappin’ Mathematician;”

(a href="/announce/Kvitliapplication.PDF" target="_blank")Bill Kvitli(/a) of Valley Center Primary School in the Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District, in his 11th year in the classroom after a successful business career;

(a href="/announce/Blomeapplication.PDF" target="_blank")Patricia Blome(/a) of San Ysidro High School in the Sweetwater Union High School District, a 15-year veteran who teaches English to ninth and 10th graders; and

(a href="/announce/Waldronapplication.PDF" target="_blank")Tom Waldron(/a) of Valhalla High in the Grossmont Union High School District, an English teacher for 32 years.

The announcement of the new Teachers of the Year by County Superintendent Randy Ward and Cox Communications Vice President and General Manager Bill Geppert was immediately followed by emotional acceptance speeches by each of the teachers, which were greeted by a raucous standing ovation from the 1,300 in attendance at the sold-out theater.

The live television, black tie production was the 18th annual Salute to Teachers, and the 35th annual San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards. The newly named teachers are now under consideration for California Teacher of the Year honors.

The nearly two-hour ceremony, sponsored by Cox, the San Diego County Office of Education, Ashford University and a host of other companies, also included the announcements of 10 Teacher of the Year Finalists, from which the five new San Diego County honorees were selected. A total of 43 school district Teachers of the Year were the nominees, representing nearly 26,000 local public school teachers.

The five other Teacher of the Year finalists were:

Julie Goodwin of Monterey Ridge Elementary in the Poway Unified School District;
Aaron Sottile of Calavera Hills Middle School in the Carlsbad Unified School District;
Wendy Craig of El Camino Creek, Encinitas Union School District;
Gina Mazeau of Palmer Way Elementary, National School District; and
Deborah Quigley of National City Adult School in the Sweetwater Union High School District.