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 San Diego County Teachers of the Year Celebrated During Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers

Arah Allard, Christine Hill, Jose Melo, Paula Richardson, Jay Tweet

The 30th Anniversary of “Cox Presents: A Salute To Teachers,” served as not only a tribute to the hard work and dedication of San Diego County’s 26,000 teachers, but also a reminder of how challenging the current conditions are for everyone – teachers, parents, and students alike.

"All of us, as humans, crave the ability to be in the same room as each other and feel the energy that students bring," said 2019-20 County Teacher of the Year Nicole Miller. "My message to everyone is just hang in there. We're going to get through this."

Hosted by YurView Television personalities Erica and J.R. Cardenas, the one-hour, pre-recorded special introduced the 2021 County Teachers of the Year and nominees, caught up with the 2019-20 County Teachers of the Year as they shared the challenges and triumphs of a global pandemic, and shared stories from students and parents about the new-found appreciation they have for the teachers in their lives. It also featured a look back at the impressive 30-year history of “Cox Presents: A Salute To Teachers,” with highlights from student performances, celebrity hosts, and memorable speeches, and a moving tribute to former County Teacher of the Year John Berray, who passed away this year. 

Each of the 2020-21 San Diego County Teachers of the Year was introduced and featured in their own video segment. They are:

  • Arah Allard, Del Mar Hills Elementary School, Del Mar Union School District
  • Christine Hill, Ramona High School, Ramona Unified School District
  • Jose Melo, Valley Center Middle School, Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District
  • Paula Richardson, Wilson Middle School, San Diego Unified School District
  • Jay Tweet, El Capitan High School, Grossmont Union High School District

These individuals were chosen from a pool of 40 nominees countywide who are their respective school district’s teacher of the year. They were selected by a panel of past Teacher of the Year honorees, education administrators, and a parent representative based on criteria that included student progress, school-community involvement, teaching philosophy, and commitment to lifelong learning. 

Since its inception in 1991, “Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers” has been an in-person black-tie awards show with celebrity presenters and student performances, and televised live on YurView. Producers had to modify the event due to the pandemic, but worked hard to maintain the show’s purpose of honoring San Diego County teachers.  

“’Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers’ has always provided an exciting platform to showcase the incredible work being done by teachers across San Diego County,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “Teachers are working harder than ever to make sure that students are learning and their social and emotional needs are met. It’s important that we continue to celebrate the profession and recognize the accomplishments of our County Teachers of the Year honorees as well as all of the nominees.”

“We’re excited to once again shine the spotlight on the amazing teachers we have in San Diego County, and their dedication to their students and their profession, especially during this challenging year of distance learning,” said Sam Attisha, senior vice president and region manager for Cox Communications. “Just as the classroom looks different this year due to the pandemic, so does our show. But we were still able to capture the passion, creativity, and innovation of San Diego County’s 26,000 public school teachers. As a company founded by a teacher, we’re proud to continue a 30-year tradition of highlighting our county’s teachers of the year and all the district nominees, and we thank the sponsors who share our commitment to education and have returned to show their support for our teaching community.”

Sponsors of the 30th annual “Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers” include: 

  • San Diego County Credit Union (Title Sponsor)
  • Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation
  • Procopio 
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune
  • The Mightier 1090
  • iHeartRadio 

“SDCCU is proud to support and recognize the excellent work of the invaluable educators in our community through our sponsorship of ‘A Salute to Teachers,” said SDCCU President and CEO Teresa Campbell. “We understand the critical role teachers play in helping to shape the future of today’s youth and are grateful for their efforts. This year our teachers have faced great uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, and we applaud their tireless devotion and commitment to their classrooms and the community.”

“Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers” will replay on YurView (Cox Channel 4/1004 and Spectrum Channel 4) at the following times: 

  • Nov. 28 at 11 a.m.
  • Nov 29 at 9:30 p.m.
  • Dec 5 at 11:00 a.m.
  • Dec. 6 at 9:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 12 at 11 a.m.
  • Dec 13 at 9:30 p.m.
  • Dec 19 at 11 a.m.
  • Dec 20 at 9:30 p.m.
  • Dec 26 at 11 a.m.
  • Dec. 27 at 9:30 p.m.
  • Dec 29 at 6 p.m.