Texas Instruments recently participated in the California Teachers of the Year awards as a sponsor. Gayle Mujica, Director of Worldwide Marketing in TI’s Education Technology business, represented the company at a gala in Sacramento on Feb. 16th to officially celebrate the five 2015 California Teachers of the Year.

The process for selection is very detailed, involving nominations, applications, interviews, and school and classroom visits. You can read more about the program here.

The five outstanding teachers, who were chosen from among more than 300,000 California teachers, were named in an announcement last October. The process for selection is very detailed, involving nominations, applications, interviews, and school and classroom visits.

 Of the five teachers recognized, two teach science:  Christopher O’Connor of St. Helena High School and Maggie Mabery of Manhattan Beach Middle School, who will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year process.

 Christopher was a practicing biotech specialist before becoming a teacher over 18 years ago, and he brings that practical experience to his school and students every day. He and his students convert local waste vegetable oil into a diesel fuel alternative, and many cars in the community proudly bear bumper stickers proclaiming “Powered by St. Helena High School Biodiesel.” He begins each school year with the following quote: “The goal of science is to make things as simple as possible…. But not simpler.” You can read more about him here.

 Maggie has been a science teacher for 15 years, of which 13 have been spent at Manhattan Beach Middle School, where her class motto is "Keep Calm and Science On." Gayle said that Maggie clearly takes pride in the boisterous nature of her technology-based classroom, which is “noisy, breaking materials, lighting stuff on fire, out of seats, creating from scratch, active, group work, tech savvy, hands-on, engaging, and intriguing”. You can watch a video about her here.

 At a reception before the Gala, TI and other sponsors were recognized along with the state Teacher of the Year finalists and semi-finalists.  The sponsors met Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Gayle spoke about TI’s commitment to education and educators and presented each of the five teachers of the year a $1000 check from TI.

 “The teachers were incredibly appreciative and held those checks proudly for the rest of the reception.  They each thanked TI for that additional recognition.  They were so humble and so honored to have been chosen,” Gayle said.

 At the dinner that followed, State Superintendent Torlakson gave a short speech and mentioned TI, noting how fundamental technology is to education today and how companies like TI are supporting educators with great technology that makes a difference in the classroom and in student engagement.

 The California Teachers of the Year program, which began in 1972, highlights educational innovation, student learning, and the rewards of teaching. The program attracts public attention to the positive aspects of the state’s educational system. Teacher quality -- recruitment as well as retention -- ranks high on every educational agenda in the state. You can read more about the program here.