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Walnut’s Sarah Flora named Teacher of the Year finalist
Sarah Flora Teach of the Year finalist
Walnut Elementary math and science teacher Sarah Flora has been named a finalist for the Stanislaus County Teacher of the Year (Photo contributed).

The Stanislaus County Office of Education and the Modesto Rotary Club will honor 12 Stanislaus County teachers next month at the 24th annual Teachers of the Year finalist luncheon. Among those nominated and named a finalist is Sarah Flora, a fifth-grade math and science teacher at Walnut Elementary.

“I am humbled and honored to be a finalist for the Stanislaus County Teacher of the Year,” Flora said. “I am blessed to share this recognition with my school community and family.”  

Teachers were nominated by their principals and finalists were selected from 62 nominees representing 13 school districts in Stanislaus County.

“The Walnut Elementary community is fortunate to have a passionate and dedicated teacher such as Mrs. Flora on its staff,” said Walnut principal Sumeet Singh. “Her students walk away with strong academic skills and are empowered with the soft skills they will need to be successful lifelong learners. Students love to visit with Mrs. Flora years after they have left Walnut, a true testament to her impact on the lives of our students.”

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. It’s a process that Flora has described as “beyond memorable.”

Though the Teacher of the Year honor is an individual award, Flora made sure to take time to mention her colleagues, students and family.

“This honor has been a collective effort of numerous teachers who have mentored and encouraged me from my first year through the present time. As a teacher, I’ve been fortunate to have administrators who have embraced my teaching style, applauded my creativity, and challenged me to strive for my personal best. I am grateful for the hundreds of students who have inspired me, as well as their families who put their trust in me. Of course, my family cannot be left out of this equation. They have been there throughout my journey.  They truly understand my passion as an educator and are my greatest supporters,” she said.

At a Rotary luncheon on May 2 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto, four of the 12 finalists will be selected as Teachers of the Year and will each receive a $1,000 cash award from the Modesto Rotary Club Foundation. Two of the four Teachers of the Year will then be selected through an interview process at a later date to represent Stanislaus County in the State Teacher of the Year Program.  One state winner then proceeds to the national level.

“It’s an honor to partner with Rotary to recognize these outstanding teachers, each who helps inspire and shape the lives of young students in our county on a daily basis,” said Scott Kuykendall, County Superintendent of Schools.