After being tabbed as one of 12 finalists for the Modesto Rotary Club and Stanislaus County Office of Education’s Teachers of the Year competition last month, Sarah Flora of Turlock’s Walnut Elementary has been officially named one of four winners during the 24th annual finalist luncheon on Tuesday at the DoubleTree in Modesto.
Flora’s win marks the second consecutive year in which a Turlock Unified School District educator has won the honor, as Dutcher Middle School math teacher Charlyn Selee was named a 2022 winner last May.
“Sarah has been an exemplary fifth grade teacher in the math and science magnet and has had a profound impact on scholars and families in the Walnut community,” said TUSD superintendent Dana Trevethan. “Congratulations, Sarah and thank you.”
Flora, who teaches fifth grade math and science, won the award along with Michael Schilperoort of Thomas Downey High (Modesto), Terry Daniels of Waterford Junior High (Waterford) and Jennifer Benitez of Mary Ann Sanders Elementary (Modesto).
According to Jason Maggard, SCOE Chief of Staff, there were 62 nominations from public and private school principals throughout the 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 and choosing the four winners.
“We are thrilled that we finally recognized our Teacher of the Year Finalists,” Maggard said.
The four selected as Teachers of the Year each received a $1,000 cash award from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation.
There’s a chance that the honors for Flora won’t stop at the county level, though. Two of the four Teachers of the Year will now be selected through an interview process to represent Stanislaus County in the State Teacher of the Year Program. One state winner will then proceed to the national competition. State winners are expected to be announced in September.