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Ceres teacher named Teacher of the Year
Craig Tornquist
Sinclear Elementary School teacher Craig Tornquist. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Sinclear Elementary School teacher Craig Tornquist was one of four teachers in Stanislaus County who were honored in the "Teacher of the Year" program sponsored each year by the Modesto Rotary Club and the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE).

Tornquist and three other teachers were honored at a Rotary luncheon on May 2.

The 2017 Teachers of the Year are:

• Andrea Cadrett from Agnes Baptist Elementary School in the Empire Union School District - TK-3 division;

• Craig Tornquist from Sinclear Elementary School in the Ceres Unified School District - 4-6 division;

• Jennifer Anderson from Somerset Middle School in the Sylvan Union School District - junior high division;

• Laura Brem from Pitman High School in the Turlock Unified School District - high school division.

For exemplifying the principles of civility, the Jane Johnston Civility Award was presented to Efrain Barron of Walnut Grove K-8 School in the Patterson Unified School District, one of the 12 finalists. The Civility Award is in honor of former SCOE Assistant Superintendent Jane Johnston, who helped launch the county-wide Choose Civility Initiative in 2010 and passed away unexpectedly in 2012.

Teachers were nominated by their principals and finalists were selected from 83 nominees representing 16 school districts in Stanislaus County. A selection committee, composed of local Rotarians and educators, narrowed the nominations through a paper screening process and then visited the classrooms of 24 semi-finalists before narrowing it down to the 12 finalists.

The four selected as Teachers of the Year each received a $1,000 cash award from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation and a $700 gift card.

Finalists for Teacher of the Year at the elementary (TK-3 grade level) were: Andrea Cadrett of Agnes Baptist Elementary (Stanislaus Union School District); Stephanie deVisser of Eisenhut Elementary School (Stanislaus Union); and Alissa Giva of Crossroads Elementary (Sylvan Union).

Finalists in the Elementary 4-6 level were Tornquist; Efrain Barron of Walnut Grove K-8 (Patterson Unified); and Stacy Oldfield of Cunningham Elementary (Turlock Unified).

Middle School level finalists were: Jennifer Anderson of Somerset Middle School (Sylvan Union district); Michelle Blaze of Hickman Middle (Hickman Community Charter); and David Howard of Cardozo Middle School (Riverbank Unified).

High School Level finalists were: Kelly Larson of Hughson High School (Hughson Unified); Laura Brem of Pitman High School in Turlock; and Brandon Fromm of Downey High School (Modesto City School).

This is the 19th year that Modesto Rotary and SCOE have joined efforts to honor teachers in Stanislaus County. Two of the four Teachers of the Year will be selected, through an interview process, to represent Stanislaus County in the State Teacher of the Year Program. One state winner then proceeds to the national level.