Sixteen Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year were named this weekend at a ceremony celebrating education excellence, the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools on Saturday.
Among them was Culver City Middle School teacher Kari Fretham.
The 16 were selected from a field of 71 teachers who participated in the 31st Annual Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year competition. All participants had been recently selected as teacher of the year by their respective school districts
The winning educators will serve as standard bearers for the teaching profession and their more than 76,000 classroom colleagues across Los Angeles County.
The county competition, overseen by the county Office of Education, is the largest competition of its kind in the state and nation. County Superintendent of Schools Arturo Delgado said it is part of the oldest and most prestigious honors contest in the United States for public school teachers.
"These are dedicated women and men who everyday make the most of a precious opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of their students," Delgado said at a banquet Friday at Universal City.
Last year's national teacher of the year, Burbank teacher Rebecca Mieliwocki, called teachers “the center of the quiet hurricane of empowerment and possibility. Every moment that you spend in the service of educating another human being is an opportunity to change the world and make it a better world,” she said.
In addition to being interviewed, contestants submitted essays, lesson plans and other materials to judging panels comprised of education peers.
The 16 L.A. County winners automatically advance with other county titlists from around the state to the California Teachers of the Year competition this fall. The state is scheduled to announce its five winners in November. One of them will be chosen to represent California in the National Teacher of the Year contest next spring.
The 16 L.A. County Teachers of the Year received a $1,000 cash prize courtesy of the California Credit Union, the program's main sponsor. The other sponsors of the Teachers of the Year program were DigitalEdgeLearning and Lakeshore Learning.