Keyes middle school teacher Leticia Rosales was named one of four Teachers of the Year Tuesday by the Stanislaus County Office of Education and the Modesto Rotary Club.
Rosales, a Spratling Middle School teacher in Keyes, was recognized along with Angelina Rafatti from La Rosa Elementary School in the Ceres Unified School District, Gary Carpenter from Agnes Baptist Elementary School in the Stanislaus Union School District and Ryan Richards from Central Valley High School in the Ceres Unified School District.
“This came as a surprise and I was shocked because I don’t feel like I’m anything special,” said Rosales when she found out she was a finalist.
Rosales teaches seventh grade language arts, math and English language development at Spratling Middle School. This is her 12th year teaching and third year with the Keyes Union School District, the same district she attended grades K-8.
Rosales said her history in Keyes allows her to know things about the community, like that it has a high population of Spanish speakers. During her time at Spratling, she has worked to develop meetings for Spanish speaking parents, allowing them to communicate with their children’s teachers and administration in a comfortable environment.
“It’s a demographic we don’t reach out to enough, so we just want to keep them up to par with topics their kids are covering in school,” said Rosales. “Parents need to be involved, and sometimes they don’t have that outlet.
“I want the parents and students to realize we’re all on the same page. We’re all a family.”
Teachers were nominated by their principals for the award program and finalists were selected from 79 nominees representing 16 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.
The four selected as Teachers of the Year each received a $1,000 cash award from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation and a $700 Nasco gift card. Mocse Credit Union also sponsored the event and provided funding for the awards, decorations and lunch for the student entertainers.
During the Tuesday event, Eric Chipponeri from Waterford Junior High School was also honored with the Jane Johnston Civility Award. The Civility Award is 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 Club, co-chaired the Teacher of the Year Program, and was active with the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County. The Education Foundation once again honored her memory with this award.
Journal reporter Angelina Martin contributed to this report.