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Two Turlock educators named finalists for Teachers of the Year
Mary Asgill
Turlock High teacher Mary Asgill is one of two Turlock educators who were named finalists for the Teacher of the Year award. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Modesto Rotary Club and the Stanislaus County Office of Education announced the 2016 Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year finalists on Tuesday, with 12 teachers vying for a chance to be one of four teachers that can call themselves the best in the county.

Teachers were nominated by their principals and finalists were selected from 88 nominees representing 17 school districts in Stanislaus County. The nominations were narrowed through a paper screening process conducted by a selection committee made up of local Rotarians and educators, who then visited the classrooms of 24 semi-finalists before deciding on the top 12.

Mary Asgill, who teaches junior AP English and Literature and the senior Expository Reading and Writing Course at Turlock High School, was nominated by THS Principal Marie Russell and is one of the 12 finalists for Teacher of the Year.

Asgill is renowned for her ability to create lively, highly interactive and rigorous lessons through the use of cutting-edge technology, providing students with the critical thinking and writing skills they will utilize in college.

For Russell, Asgill immediately came to mind when she learned of the nomination process.

“The words that come to mind are ‘a long time coming,’” said Russell. “Mary is an outstanding teacher, colleague, mentor and friend.  We are truly blessed to call her a Bulldog.”

Along with Asgill, another Turlock teacher made the cut for the final 12 nominees. Stephanie Pimentel of Cunningham Elementary was nominated by Principal Tami Truax. As a fifth grade teacher, Pimentel has a passion for helping every student succeed. Truax decided to nominate Pimentel because she not only focuses on their academics, but also on developing positive character for every child.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am,” said Truax. “We have a lot to be proud of at Cunningham Elementary and one of those things is our amazing teachers. To have one of our own be a finalist is just validation that our teachers are hardworking and dedicated.”

This is the 18th year that Modesto Rotary and SCOE have combined their efforts to honor teachers in Stanislaus County. The program not only recognizes their dedication in the classroom, but also provides an opportunity for teachers to receive state and national recognition. Two of the four Teachers of the Year will be selected to represent Stanislaus County in the State Teacher of the Year Program. One winner from the state program will then proceed to the national level.

The four Stanislaus County teachers who are selected as Teachers of the Year will each receive a $1,000 cash reward from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation and a $700 Nasco gift card.