TCOE Honors Excellent Education Staff Member

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As Principal of Cutler Elementary, Cerda spent most of her day observing classroom instruction, celebrating excellent teaching, and supporting improvement. Yolanda Valdez, district superintendent for Cutler-Orosi, said Cerda is focused on academic achievement and is closely involved in all data analysis. She brought together the reading specialist, instructional coaches, school psychologist, social worker, and school director of learning weekly to ensure students were making academic, social, and emotional progress. For its work in implementing the school’s PBIS behavior support program, Cutler Elementary earned the organization’s highest designation, “platinum status,” for 2018, 2019, and 2021.

Additionally, Cerda is also actively involved in her community, as a member of the local Visalia Lions Club.

teacher of the year

Nancy Warkentin

Transitional kindergarten teacher for Wilson Elementary School in the Dinuba Unified School District.

Nancy Warkentin, now retired, taught with Dinuba Unified for 37 years at Wilson Elementary. For the past 10 years, she has been a transitional kindergarten teacher, helping four- and five-year-olds develop pedagogical foundations and teaching them to love learning inside and outside the classroom.

Warkentin nominees praised her for her creativity in making California school standards fun for her students. Through the use of music, song, imagery, drama, art and technology, Warkentin has actively engaged its students in their lessons. At the heart of her teaching was love, which she expressed to her students, valuing each as her own “beautiful” children.

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