Kern County Teachers of the Year are announced

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

Music teacher Alex John Gonzales from the Delano Joint Union High School District and science teacher Robert A. Hodash from Sierra Middle School were honored this evening as the 2012-13 Kern County Teachers of the Year.

The pair will go on to represent Kern County in the California Teacher of the Year competition in November. Ogden Kiesel from Blanton Education Center was named this year's alternate. 

The selections were announced at a reception hosted by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office at the Bakersfield Museum of Art to honor the 57 Kern County teachers nominated for the award by their schools and districts.

A committee of educators and community leaders reviewed all the applications. Recent site visits were made to the top candidates’ schools. All 57 nominees received plaques and certificates.

California Department of Education (CDE) sponsors the annual California Teacher of the Year program. Local sponsors include California Retired Teachers Association-Kern County Division, Morgan Clayton-Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc., Kern Schools Federal Credit Union and PAS Associates, with a special acknowledgment to the Bakersfield Museum of Art.

Alex John Gonzales

Delano Joint Union High School District

Mr. Gonzales’ accomplishments as an educator are represented in a strong, thriving music program at each of the three high schools in the Delano Joint Union High School District.  It has taken hard work with tremendous detail to develop music programs that children love and respect.  Alex’s accomplishments are measured by the triumphs of his students. For instance, a drum major for the US Marine Band, former students who are now band directors or majoring in music, members of university bands, some on tour as professional musicians, and finally those students who have become part of the working force in their communities who constantly remind and thank him for the time management, organizational skills and attention to detail they learned in band classes.  Helping to mold and shape these children to become viable citizens is his focus and ultimate accomplishment. 

Robert A. Hodash

Sierra Middle School

Bakersfield City School District

Mr. Hodash has made an aggressive effort to bring the out-of-reach sciences to the fingertips of his students. Students in his class quickly forget they are in a classroom as they engage in rigorous, yet pleasurable science lessons that also support their writing, speaking, and analytical skills. His commitment has earned his school numerous recognitions at the local, state, and national level. Hodash has utilized his talents as an instructional leader, teacher support provider, local and national presenter and mentor for other teachers in the field.  He has been instrumental in amassing over $1 million in grant funding to support his science-based activities with students. 

Ogden Kiesel (Alternate)

Blanton Education Center

Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Mr. Kiesel has served as a science teacher for 9th-12th graders at the Blanton Center - Tech Community School in the KCSOS Alternative Education program for the past nine years.  He served as a naturalist at Camp KEEP (Kern Environmental Education Program) for three years, and taught for one year in the Denver Public School system.  Ogden holds a BA in Environmental Education and Creative Writing, and an MA in Education with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction.  His strongest belief of all is a belief in each of his students and he pledges to himself and them that they will always know that he believes in them.

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