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Orange County Teachers of the Year


The Orange County Teachers of the Year (TOTY) program provides recognition for outstanding teachers in Orange County. 

Each school district may nominate one to three teachers (depending on district size). Each community college may nominate one teacher per accredited college. 

Candidates are honored at an annual recognition banquet hosted by the premier sponsor, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union.

California Teachers of the Year

The five Orange County finalists who teach pre-kindergarten through grade 12 are eligible to compete in the California Teachers of the Year program. This prestigious statewide competition involves county offices of education nominating winners from their regional Teachers of the Year competitions. A state selection committee then reviews candidates' applications and conducts site visits for up to twenty applicants to evaluate the teachers' rapport with students, classroom environment, presentation skills, and teaching methods, among other criteria. A select group of up to ten teachers are interviewed by  California Department of Education representatives. The State Superintendent then names five teachers as California Teachers of the Year.

Congratulations to Mandy Kelly, a sixth grade teacher from Trabuco Mesa Elementary School in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District who was named by the California Department of Education as one of the five 2020 California Teachers of the Year. Gavin Ehlers from Huntington Beach Union High School District and De’Anna Moore from Orange Unified School District were also named as finalists for the 2020 California Teachers of the Year.

For more information, visit:

California Department of Education News Release

Kristin Rigby
Brianna Gomez
Administrativ​e Assistant