Four outstanding teachers---from Clairemont, City Heights, Encinitas and Santee---were announced Saturday as the 2007 San Diego County Teachers of the Year, culminating the glittering, 16th annual production of Cox Presents "A Salute to Teachers."
With a Civic Theatre audience of more than 2,000 on the edge of their seats, County Superintendent of Schools Randy Ward and Cox Communications Vice President Bill Geppert announced the new honorees, one-by-one. They were:
West Hills High School chemistry teacher Cheri Gabler, representing the Grossmont Union High School District;
Marston Middle School U.S. History and AVID teacher Eduardo Ochoa, representing San Diego Unified School District;
Paul Ecke Central Elementary teacher Judy Leff, representing the Encinitas Union School District;
And City Heights Juvenile Court and Community School teacher Pamela Moorehead, representing the San Diego County Office of Education.
The announcement of the new County Teachers of the Year brought the highly charged audience to its feet, concluding the black tie "Salute," which was televised live on Ch. 4 by the County Office of Education's long-time partner, Cox Communications.
"This is the type of production that truly befits the teaching profession," said Ward, seconds before the final announcement. "I am proud to be here tonight, to support the great work of all our San Diego County public school teachers…Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
Prior to Ward and Geppert's announcement, ten Teacher of the Year finalists were announced during the "Salute," including the four eventual awardees. The other six finalists were:
Deborah Balmat of La Jolla Elementary in the San Diego Unified School District;
Krista deBoer of La Costa Canyon High in the San Dieguito Union High School District;
Marissa Ochoa of Valley Elementary in the Poway Unified School District;
Claudia Tellez of Sweetwater High in the Sweetwater Union High School District;
Celia Walker of Castle Park High in the Sweetwater district; and
Bonnie Welch of Mt. Woodson Elementary in the Ramona Unified School District.
The four new San Diego County Teachers of the Year succeed last year's quartet---Karen Anglin of Mountain Empire Unified; Guillermo Gomez of Chula Vista Elementary; Keith Koelzer of Poway Unified; and Erin Mangahis of San Diego Unified. The 2006 Teachers of the Year were among the "Salute" presenters who announced this year's finalists.
Also among the presenters was Kristi Gregg of San Diego National Bank, the Presenting Sponsor of "Salute." The show was co-MC'd by Robin Meade of CNN and Ch. 4's Dennis Morgigno.
Also featured in the two-hour television production were performances by five local student performing groups. They were:
"The Main Attraction," from the Chula Vista High School of Creative and Performing Arts; the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts Jazz Ensemble; the Carlsbad High Chamber Singers; the "Trio," Daniel Myers of High Tech Middle Media Arts, Montay Romero of Bell Junior High, and Benjamin Roy of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts; and the Formality Dance Academy.