Antioch Unified School District 2017-18 Teacher of the Year Receives Special Visit

Press Release

(l-r) Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, and Antioch Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year Jacey Renfroe, Marsh Elementary Principal Crystal Berry. Photo Credit: Terry Koehne, CCCOE

ANTIOCH, Calif., — On May 12, Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata visited the classroom of Jacey Renfroe, at Marsh Elementary School.

Renfroe, who has been teaching for 11 years, was recently named Antioch Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year (TOY). Since 2011, Renfroe has taught first and fifth grades at Marsh Elementary. Prior to working at Marsh Elementary, Renfro had taught at Kimball Elementary School, Fremont Elementary School, and Black Diamond Middle School, all three schools are part of the Antioch USD.

When expressing her viewpoint on teaching, Renfroe says, “I firmly believe that building relationships with your students is the single most important part of teaching. If you are unable to, or do not try to build a relationship with your students, then they are not going to learn from you. When a student feels connected to you as their teacher, they are more likely to work harder to make you proud. While building these relationships with the students, you get to know them, not as a name on a paper or a test score, but as a person. With this will come a mutual respect. A lot of people today feel as though the students should respect the teacher no mater what; I feel the respect has to go both ways.”

“I take pride in the relationships that I have built with my students,” Renfroe adds. “I show my students respect from day one in the classroom. I set very strict procedures and teach tem explicitly, so they know what to expect when they walk into our classrooms.”

On the evening of September 28, 2017, the 22 Contra Costa County TOYs, class of 2017-18, including Jacey Renfroe, will be introduced and honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Concord Hilton. The 22 TOYs will be accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers. The expected crowd of close to 500 will also include numerous other supporters of the program. For more information about this year’s CCCOE TOY Program, please review this earlier-sent news release.

Throughout the school year, Superintendent Sakata makes it a point to visit each incoming TOY in their classrooms, prior to the Dinner Celebration. This is a great way for her to meet the teachers and their students, as well as takein the day’s lesson plan. When individually introducing the TOYs at the Dinner Celebration, Sakata will tell the audience about her visit and will quote one or two of the students’ remarks about their revered teacher.
Currently, there are approximately 8,400 teachers educating more than 176,000 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county named their TOY representatives in mid March. The incoming 22 TOYs represent 17 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Most of these representatives, those who teach grades K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two top teachers in the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Seventeen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, and the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.
  • Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Diablo Valley College’s turn.
  • Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.


  1. Is that the Superintendent of AUSD and not the Principal of Marsh Elementary noted in the photograph?

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