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La Rosas Susan Peters teacher of year finalist
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Susan Peters, a teacher at La Rosa Elementary School in Ceres, has been named a finalist for the 2014 Teachers of the Year award.

The Modesto Rotary and the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) will honor the 2014 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year finalists and announce the selection of four as 2014 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year at a Rotary luncheon on May 6 at the Modesto Centre Plaza at noon. The four selected as Teachers of the Year will each receive a $1,000 cash award and a $500 Nasco gift card.

Teachers were nominated by their principals and finalists were selected from 87 nominees representing 19 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.

Again this year, a Civility Award will be presented 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 April 2012. Johnston was a member of the Modesto Rotary, co-chaired the Teacher of the Year Program, and was active with the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County. "Jane was an exceptional model of civility at work and in our community," said Education Foundation Chairperson Carol Benson.

"Thus, the Education Foundation thought it would be a fitting tribute to create this award in her memory." The Jane Johnston Civility Award will be presented to one of the 12 finalists who best exemplifies the principles of civility. The winner of this award will also receive $1,000.

This is the 16th 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.

"Someone once said, ‘Good teachers are to education what education is to all other professions - the indispensable element, the sunlight and oxygen, the foundation on which everything else is built,'" said County Superintendent Tom Changnon. "It is truly an honor to partner with the Rotary to recognize these outstanding teachers - each who has helped shape the lives of young students in our county."