Teacher of the Year
2014/15 Kern County Teachers of the Year announced; Finalists are now eligible for statewide honor later this year
Eighth grade English/language arts teacher Kurtis Franklin from La Viña Middle School in Delano and instrumental and vocal music teacher John Ferrandini of Tropico Middle School in Rosamond were honored this evening as the 2014-15 Kern County Teachers of the Year. The finalists are now eligible to apply to move on to the California State Teachers of the Year program later in the year. An alternate, Clay Freeman, agriculture teacher at Foothill High School, was also selected in the event that one of the finalists is unable to apply for the state competition.
The selections were announced at a reception hosted by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools (KCSOS) at the Bakersfield Museum of Art to honor the 55 Kern County teachers nominated for the award by their schools and districts. A committee of educators and community leaders reviewed all the applications. Recent site visits were made to the top candidates’ schools. All 55 nominees received plaques and certificates.
California Department of Education (CDE) sponsors the annual California Teacher of the Year program.Local sponsors include California Retired Teachers Association-Kern County Division, Morgan Clayton-Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc., Kern Schools Federal Credit Union and PAS Associates, with a special acknowledgment to the Bakersfield Museum of Art.
La Viña Middle School
Delano Union Elementary School District
Always expecting his students to think for themselves, Mr. Franklin has structured his classroom around that idea, feeling empowered and validated in the approach he has used for years to strengthen student thinking. Through open group discussion, stimulating conversations, guided practice through challenges, and self-discovery, each student builds on their ability to think for themselves and achieve their goals.
With this year’s shift to Common Core Standards, Mr. Franklin is piloting a one-to-one laptop rollout for his district, which has resulted in a rather non-traditional classroom that is both paperless and primarily self-directed for each student. Students grade their progress daily through a computerized exit ticket process and report on their own progress and ways to improve upon their own learning. Every Friday students share a presentation in class showing their own discovery or learning over the course of the current unit.
With a passion for technology, Mr. Franklin feels he has expanded his accomplishments as a teacher with the Delano Robotics Competition he developed over 4 years ago. Mr. Franklin has also formed a strong relationship with his community by promoting school and community activities through the school website and video promotions of school events. He inspires his students to find helpful ways to support the community by modeling this process through his work as a mentor at the Kern County Mission and his work as a foster parent through the Kern County Department of Human Services.
Tropico Middle School
Southern Kern Unified School District (Rosamond)
Mr. Ferrandini has been instrumental in maintaining a solid music program at both the middle and high school levels as well as preparing students to meet high expectations by exposing them to outstanding music opportunities within Kern County.
Five years ago, when the district encountered financial hard times and a music teacher had to be laid off, Mr. Ferrandini chose to maintain the music programs in both the middle school and high school for the next three years to sustain both programs. During this time, bands from both schools received high rankings in music competitions.
Although he is currently working with the middle school programs, students in kindergarten through 12th grade have benefited from his musical talent and expertise during a 20-year teaching career. He is a member of the California and Kern County Music Educators Association, has served as Kern County Honors Music Concert Band Chairman and co-chair, and provided an enhanced musical experience to students in the Southern Kern Unified School District as its music director over the past several years.
Mr. Ferrandini teaches his students the importance of giving to others by having them provide musical performances in their community. Many years ago, John collaborated with a local professional jazz musician on a plan to raise money to support the middle and high school music programs in Rosamond. This annual event called the Spaghetti Jazz Feed has been held annually for the past 16 years. Every year student musicians from the schools join in with this local artist to provide this community-based Jazz Feed. The presence of music in Rosamond is alive and well due to the efforts of John Ferrandini.
Following are all 55 nominees:
Miriam Aguirre – Pond Union School District (Pond School)
Chris Alvarez – Southern Kern Unified (Rosamond High School)
Marisol Alvarez – Buttonwillow School District (Buttonwillow Elementary School)
Meaghan Barber-Smith – Kern High School District (Highland High)
Isabel Bramer – Kern High School District (Independence High School)
Korinna Campbell – Wasco Union Elementary School District (John L. Prueitt School)
Yvonne Cavanagh – Kern High School District (Bakersfield High)
Sandra Lynn Dempsey – Mojave Unified School District (California City High School)
David Dennis – Taft Union High School District (Taft Union High School)
Tom Dwyer – South Fork Union School District (South Fork Elementary School)
John Ferrandini – Southern Kern Union School District (Tropico Middle School)
Kurtis Franklin – Delano Union School District (La Vina Middle School)
Monty Clayton “Clay” Freeman – Kern High School District (Foothill High School)
Christina Garcia – Bakersfield City School District (Ramon Garza Elementary)
Krystal Gonzalez – Bakersfield City School District (Rafer Johnson/SEAL School)
Stephen Granucci – Kern High School District (Arvin High School)
Dave Hammelmann – Delano Joint Union High School District (Delano High School)
Lynne Hetherton – Sierra Sands Unified School District (Murray Middle School)
Ian Hunter – Wasco Union High School District (Wasco High School)
Mi Kang – Arvin Union School District (Bear Mountain Elementary School)
Dee Krause – Edison Elementary School District (Orangewood Elementary School)
BJ Lester – Kern High School District (Nueva High School)
Monica Lizarraga – Kern High School District (West High School)
Claudia Maldonado – Bakersfield City School District (Emerson Middle School)
Angelica Martinez – Richland School District (Richland Junior High School)
Antwan Miller – Kern County Superintendent of Schools (Henry Eissler Elementary School)
Diana Moon – Greenfield Union School District (Planz Elementary School)
Nakeisha Moya – Kern High School District (South High School)
Deanne Murphy – Kern High School District (Ridgeview High School)
Alan Navarro – McFarland Unified School District (McFarland High School)
Barbara Olson – Delano Union School District (Fremont School)
Kesha Owens – Kern High School District (East Bakersfield High School)
Matthew Purdy – Kern County Superintendent of Schools (CLC Tech – Alt. Ed)
Gabriel Ramirez – Kern High School District (Shafter High School)
Julie Ramirez – Panama-Buena Vista Union School District (Berkshire Elementary School)
Manuel Ramirez – Lamont School District (Mountain View Middle School)
Brian Richardson – Muroc Joint Unified School District (Boron Junior/Senior High School)
Marti Roberts – Kern High School District (Centennial High School)
Brandy Rosander – Norris School District (Norris Elementary School)
Ramona Ross – Bakersfield City School District (Walter Stiern Middle School)
Denise Sande – Kern High School District (Stockdale High School)
Stacey Sanders – Kernville Union School District (Woodrow W. Wallace Middle)
Kimberly Schmidt – Southern Kern School District (WestPark Elementary School)
Nathan Schultz – Kern High School District (Kern Valley High School)
Carrie Singleton – Greenfield Union School District (W.A. Kendrick School)
Charles Stewart – El Tejon Unified School District (El Tejon School)
Jennifer Stewart – Standard School District (Standard Middle School)
Betty Taylor – Bakersfield City School District (Walter Stiern Middle School)
Hilda Torres – Semitropic School District (Semitropic School)
Kelly Torres – Southern Kern Unified School District (Rosamond Elementary)
Kerri Ward – Kern High School District (Liberty High)
Jennifer Watkins – Kern High School District (Frontier High)
Kendra Weisser – Kern High School District (North High)
Cliff Wiggins -Tehachapi Unified School District (Tehachapi High)
Jennifer Yamauchi – Kern High School District (Golden Valley High School)