California Educator

December/January 2022

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Presented by California Casualty and supported by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage and inspire new teachers to enter the profession. CTA President E. Toby Boyd thanks the winners for their inspiring dedication. "During a pandemic that has challenged teachers everywhere, these educators have gone above and beyond and made an extraordinary difference in the lives of their students," he says. "We congratulate them for receiving this prestigious honor and for being recognized for their excellent teaching, innovation, creativity, and ability to connect with students. You do our profession proud." For more information about the California Teachers of the Year pro- gram, go to SOVANTEVY LONG-LAT TERI, a special education teacher at La Sierra High School in Fullerton Joint Union High School District. Long-Latteri is a member of Fullerton Secondary Teachers Organization. TIFFANY JOKERST, a high school mathematics and engineering teacher at West Hills High School in Grossmont Union High School District. Jokerst is a member of Grossmont Education Association. VIRGINIA VASQUEZ, an AP Language and Composition teacher at San Gabriel High School in Alhambra Unified School District. Vasquez is a member of Alhambra Teachers Association. New Science Center Named for Member I N D E C E M B E R , College of the Can- yons (COC) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Don Takeda Science Center, named in honor of longtime biology instructor Don Takeda, who retired in 2017. Takeda is the longest-serving full- time faculty member, having taught at COC for 46 years. Several colleagues had the idea to honor him, and with the help of College of the Canyons Faculty Association (COCFA), the initiative became reality. Located at the Canyon Country cam- pus, the 55,000-square-foot building is primarily devoted to the physical and biological sciences and serves as a focal point for students and visitors. Takeda was recognized in person by the Santa Clarita Community College District with a resolution commending his significant contributions to the biological sciences during his teaching career at COC. He also received recog- nition from local legislators. "I am just incredibly honored that this has happened," said Takeda in a COC statement. "It is a testament to the leadership of this district to honor faculty members. When I get this kind of tribute, it is reflective of all the other faculty members, past to the present, because that is what makes the institu- tion so great. This institution is a gem in the Santa Clarita Valley." COCFA members applauded their former member, now a CTA/NEA- Retired member, on social media: "Congratulations, Don Takeda! Thank you for blazing the trail for fellow faculty and students." 53 D E C E M B E R 2 0 21 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2

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