Teacher of The Year 2016 Awards

November 15, 2016

The Lake County Office of Education hosted the 22nd annual 2016 Lake County Educators of the Year and Excellence In Education Awards Dinner.  The awards dinner honored teachers and classified employees from around Lake County on November 4, 2016.

A total of six Lake County District teachers were honored as Teacher of the year, with Kimberly Harris from Lower Lake Elementary selected, by committee, to be the Lake County Teacher of the Year.  Four Classified employees were also honored for their dedication and service.

It was clear by the atmosphere and talk in the room that this was an exciting and happy event made complete with a lot of conversation and laughter.

When it came time in the evening to present awards, many presenters were moved to tears as they spoke of the honorees they were awarding. 

Below are those who were recognized at the 2016 Lake County Educators of the Year & Excellence in Education Awards Dinner:


Tarin Benson awards Kimberly Harris as Lake County Teacher of the Year 2016.  Ms. Harris is a 4th – 8th Grade Special Education Teacher at Lower Lake Elementary, Konocti Unified School District.

Tarin Benson awards Kim Harris as Lake County Teacher of The Year

“Kim Harris is amazing, dedicated and hard working.  She looks at each student individually and meets them at their needs, holding students accountable and providing them with the opportunity to work to their full potential.  She has been face with challenging situations and is able to deescalate a situation and make it a safe environment for all.  She is a true warrior.  She has stepped up and provided students with structure and an education to become positive members of society.” – Tarin Benson, Lower Lake Elementary Principal


Mike Jones presents and accepts the Kelseyville Unified School District Teacher of the Year Award for Rico Abordo.  Mr. Abordo is a 9th – 12th Grade English Teacher at Kelseyville High School.

“Mr. Abordo has both changed and impacted the lives of everyone he interacts with.  He lights up the room when he enters and is able to captivate the students no matter the topic.  His students prepare for his lessons and enjoy the daily interaction.”  - Matt Cockerton, Kelseyville High School Principal


Anita Swanson presents Nicole Goodwin with the Lakeport Unified School District Teacher of the Year2016 Award.  Ms. Goodwin teaches 3rd Grade at Lakeport Elementary School.

“Mrs. Goodwin is an innovator in this time of constant change.  She provides opportunities for her students to learn in many new and innovative ways and accommodates their particular learning styles.” – Anita Swanson, Lakeport Elementary Principal


Bill Roderick presents Karen Jones with the Middletown Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2016 Award.  Ms. Jones teaches 9th – 12th grades at Middletown High School.

“Karen Jones has made a profound impact on the life of thousands of students.  What put her over the top for this award was her service to the community of Middletown during and after the Valley Fire.  She teaches the students some of the most valuable lessons they will ever learn without opening a textbook.” – Bill Roderick, Middletown High School Principal


Stephanie Wayment presents Diana Johnson with the Upper Lake Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2016 Award.  Ms. Johnson teaches K-5th Grade Special Education at Upper Lake Elementary.

“Diana has a real calming spirit when working with special education students.  She knows how to get right into what they need to feel successful and to be able to accomplish a lot.  She was overwhelmingly voted teacher of the year because she is always trying to look within each student and she makes sure her kids needs are met.”  - Kathleen Dunn, 3rd Grade Teacher, Upper Lake Elementary School


Sandy Coatney presents and accepts the Upper Lake Unified School District Teacher of the Year 2016 Award for Gary Madison.  Mr. Madison is a 9th – 12th Grade Technology Teacher at Upper Lake High School.

“In my 34 years in education there are very few times that you come across educators that are the epitome of the teaching profession.  Gary is one of those.  Having the opportunity to work alongside someone like that is a joy.  It is mind boggling to see and watch what goes on in his classroom.”  - Pat Iaccino, Upper Lake District Superintendent


Jessica Taliaferro presents Eva Santana with the Konocti Unified School District Classified Employee of the Year 2016 Award.  Ms. Santana is the Academic Intervention Assistant at Lower Lake High School.

“Eva is one of the most dedicated, thorough, compassionate and caring individuals we have on campus.  She goes beyond, in that she always sets out to create attainable goals and incremental steps to usher students along in their path to success.”  - Mary Ann Heywood, Konocti District Executive Administrative Assistant


David Norris presents David Ferrell with the Lakeport Unified School District Classified Employee of the Year 2016 Award.  Mr. Ferrell is the Mechanic for the Maintenance, Operations and Transportation Department for the Lakeport Unified School District.

“David displays a professional approach to his job that contributes to the positive culture of the transportation department.  He is self-motivated and forward thinking.  In the 15 years with the school district, he has passed every CHP inspection with a top rating.  David is always good natured in dealings with all people he comes in contact with.”  - Erin Smith-Hagberg, Lakeport District Superintendent


Sandy Coatney presents Linda Morton with the Upper Lake Unified School District Classified Employee of the Year 2016 Award.  Ms. Morton is the Lead Bus Driver for the Upper Lake School District.

“Linda has been working at Upper Lake since 1985.  Her 30+ years of service have been marked by professionalism, dedication and loyalty.  She has been a bus driver for most of her service and in recent years has been our lead driver.  Our staff chose Linda to represent the school because she embodies those qualities that make our school a great place to work.”  - Pat Laccino, Upper Lake District Superintendent


Bill Roderick presents Salvador Pimentel with the Middletown Unified School District Classified Employee of the Year 2016 Award.  Mr. Pimentel is a Custodian at Middletown High School.

“Sal Pimentel is one of the most upstanding employees of the District.  He is kind, honest, smart, reliable, an incredible worker and an incredible human being.  He looks out for everything and everyone.  It is with extreme pleasure and honor that we recognize him.”  - Catherine Stone, Middletown District Superintendent


Chris Schoeneman and Donna Becnel present Jessica Taliaferro with the Association of California School Board Administrators (ACSA).  Ms. Taliaferro is the Lower Lake High School Principal

One of ACSA's priorities is to ensure that school leaders are recognized for their excellence. Through their annual awards program, they honor students, administrators and community organizations for their achievements and their dedication to public education.

"Jessica has been a determined and thoughtful leader during tremendous changes at Lower Lake High School.  She has worked diligently with staff and students and continued to make needed adjustments to assure success.  Jessica has continued to stay true to her own purpose and philosophy of why she started her career in administration - to help and support all kids.  She is a great selection to represent all of us who work in school administration in Lake County."  Chris Schoeneman, Lake County ACSA Charter President


Brock Faulkenberg presents Russell Cremer with the Champion of Education Award.  

“Russ is a community member who saw a need; the need for agricultural education at Lower Lake High School.  He took the initiative to approach the school district with his ideas and research.  Soon, with the Superintendent’s and Board’s approval, Russ was leading an Industry Advisory Committee exploring the need for Agricultural Education.  As a result Lower Lake High began to offer Agricultural Education classes and form their own Future Farmers of America Chapter.”  - Brock Faulkenberg, Lake County Superintendent of Schools


We were very pleased to honor these fine men and women who have selflessly, compassionately and competently served our Lake County School Districts, Staff, and Community.  You are awe-inspiring!


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