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Gaylyn Barker among county’s four top teachers
• Beaver Elementary teacher honored
Gaylyn Barker
Beaver Elementary School’s Gaylyn Barker (right) is one of Stanislaus County’s “Teachers of the Year,” along with Turlock High’s Jared Jeffries, Sherwood’s Debbie Persons and Ross Middle School’s Crystal Case.

Ceres Unified School District employee Gaylyn Barker was among the four educators chosen as Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year by the Stanislaus County Office of Education and Modesto Rotary Club at a luncheon held earlier this month at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto.

Each winner received a $1,000 cash award from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation and a $650 Nabisco gift card.

Barker was named “Teacher of the Year” in the TK-3rd grade division.

“I’ve observed her (Barker) in her classroom. She’s a fantastic teacher. She’s very nurturing. She gets a lot of student participation.”
CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel

She teaches kindergarten at Patricia Kay Beaver Elementary School.

“I’ve observed her (Barker) in her classroom,” said CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel. “She’s a fantastic teacher. She’s very nurturing. She gets a lot of student participation.”

Teachers were nominated by their principals and finalists were chosen from a pool of 69 nominees representing 15 school districts throughout Stanislaus County. A selection committee, consisting of local Rotarians and educators, narrowed the nominations through a paper screening process. The field of 24 was narrowed down to 12 following classroom visits.

Five of the finalists are employed by CUSD, including Barker, Ilaen Marron, Lindsey McCloskey, Laura McNelis and Veronica Moreno.

“That’s pretty special,” said Siegel. “It speaks a lot to how our teachers perform in the classroom.”

Marron, a fifth grade teacher at La Rosa Elementary, was a finalist in the 4-6 grade division.

She was the recipient of the 2019 “Jane Johnston Civility Award” in honor of the late Stanislaus County Office of Education’s assistant superintendent.

McCloskey and McNelis were finalists in the middle school division.

McCloskey and McNelis teach Math and Language Arts, respectively, at Cesar Chavez and Mae Hensley junior highs.

Moreno, a PE teacher at Central Valley, was a finalist in the high school division.

This is the 21st year that Modesto Rotary and SCOE have joined efforts to honor teachers in Stanislaus County. The program not only honors local teachers and celebrates excellence in education, but also provides an opportunity for teachers to receive state and national recognition. 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.

“It’s an honor to partner with Rotary to recognize these outstanding teachers – each who helps inspire and shape the lives of students in our county each and every day,” said County Superintendent of Schools Scott Kuykendall.