For almost 40 years, the Ed Fund has recognized the district’s best teachers through the Teaching Excellence Awards. These educators exemplify putting students at the center of the educational experience. After the return to in-person learning in 2021, teachers have had a challenging year trying to help students cope with and recover from the pandemic. Due to these circumstances, it is more important than ever for us to celebrate the teachers within the West Contra Costa Unified School District
2022 Teaching Excellence Award winners
We are excited to present our 39th cohort of Teaching Excellence Award winners! To select this year’s teachers, we focused our attention on how teachers worked to adapt to the return to in-person learning, focused on social-emotional learning, and how they placed the experiences of marginalized students at the forefront of their instruction.
We received teacher nominations from community members across the district and after teacher interviews, the Ed Fund, in collaboration with WCCUSD, chose the following four teachers.
We recently honored these teachers at our annual Soaring to Excellence Awards ceremony on May 12, 2022, which took place virtually.
Nashon Williams, Lovonya DeJean Middle School, 7th/8th Grade Math
Ms. Nashon Williams has been teaching for two decades, and has been working in the district since 2018. Ms. Williams is deeply involved in culturally and linguistically relevant teaching, and has even led professional development for her colleagues in those areas. She believes in the importance of students not only completing their work, but actually being able to fully grasp the material.
Ms. Williams works to give struggling students one-on-one attention while allowing the students who are grasping the material to work through additional problems. She also makes sure to give time for students to teach and learn from each other, because she believes that students can have a “magical way to get the information across” to their peers. She instills in her students perseverance and the confidence to own their knowledge.
Ms. Williams will be representing WCCUSD this year at the annual Teacher of the Year Award ceremony. Go Nashon!
Carole Peters, Vista Virtual, Middle School, all Subjects
Ms. Peters has 15 years of teaching experience, and recently joined the Vista Virtual team. In her first year at Vista Virtual, she has worked to establish the African American Parent Advisory Council. The group supports the school with anti-racist practices, calls out inequities, and works to make the school more inclusive. Additionally, she is in the process of developing a Black Student Union at the virtual academy.
Ms. Peters’ teaching philosophy is rooted in forming relationships with her students. She understands the experiences of students of color and strives to be that trusted teacher that understands what they’re going through. She believes that both life and students “[are] full of commas and not periods. Once you meet a goal it’s not over like a period but a comma to add more goals, more learning, more success, and more opportunities for growth.”
Lisa Jako, Michelle Obama Elementary School, 5th Grade Math and Science
Ms. Jako has been in her position for three years, and works to challenge her students daily, while supporting struggling students. She sees teaching as teamwork between herself and her students.
Ms. Jako aims for her students to have a substantial say in what happens within their classroom and community. According to her, when students are able to feel comfortable and heard in their classrooms, they will be more engaged in their studies. She sees her role as a teacher as an opportunity to be a part of social justice work, community partnership, and activism.
Recently, she worked with her students to design a project that got reusable water bottles into the hands of all students at her school site, empowering her students to be actively engaged in the real world.
Luis Chacon, Richmond High School, 10-12th Ethnic Studies and Chicano Studies
Mr. Chacon is an alumnus of Richmond High, and has been teaching at the school for five years. He sees his position as being a part of the village that raises each child. He said that he wants to have his students “read the word and read the world,” having them develop their literacy skills to better understand the world they live in.
Listening to his students’ desire to learn more about their history, Mr. Chacon has written curriculum for Ethnic Studies, Chicano/Chicana studies, and has worked to bring African American studies to RHS. He has also helped shift history courses at RHS to use an ethnic studies framework. He is commited to bringing equitable and anti-racist practices into his classroom, fulfilling his lifelong goal of teaching and supporting youth in his Richmond community.
Mr. Chacon will be representing WCCUSD this year at the annual Teacher of the Year Award ceremony. Go Luis!