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Teacher of the Year Program

Honored in late 2022, our highly esteemed Teachers of the Year will serve as our 2023 Monterey County Teacher of the Year ambassadors.

The Teacher of the Year Program highlights educational innovation, student learning, and the rewards of teaching. The purpose of the Program is to honor the teaching profession and to heighten interest in teaching as a career. The program affords the opportunity to bring attention to teachers who successfully employ strategies to increase academic success and narrow the achievement gap among a range of students.

Teachers are selected based on work performance, school and community involvement, leadership and commitment, local support, school image enhancement, and willingness to go above and beyond. 

2023 Monterey County Teachers of the Year

Teacher Jennifer Villa with $1000 check

Ms. Jennifer Villa

Special Education & Overall Teacher of the Year

Rancho San Juan High School

Ms. Jennifer Villa credits her love of teaching to her own second grade teacher, who allowed her to help her fellow students in the classroom. After a brief period of serving overseas in the Peace Corps, Ms. Villa acted on her passion for teaching and received her credential before going into teaching Special Education. We applaud Ms. Villa for the dedication she puts into her students while teaching. 

Teacher Annette holding 500 dollar check in front of her school

Ms. Annette Zambrano

Elementary School
Teacher of the Year

Del Rey Elementary School

Ms. Annette Tognazzini Zambrano has dreamed of being a teacher since she was a young girl. Ms. Zambrano recalls school being difficult for her as a young girl, but her teachers helped her to learn the material and feel confident. This encouragement made Ms. Zambrano interested in pursing teaching as well, wanting to help young students like her teachers once did with her. 

Teacher Patrick Stadille holds $500 check at his school gymnasium

Mr. Patrick Stadille

Middle school
Teacher of the Year

Carmel Middle School

Mr. Patrick Stadille has taught science at Carmel Middle School for decades. He is known by students and parents as a fun, engaging, and caring teacher. Mr. Stadille expresses gratitude for getting students that are eager to learn each year! He credits his passion for teaching on his wonderful students. Though he did retire at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, Mr. Stadille plans to continue to volunteer his time at Carmel Middle School. 

Teacher Kai Esaki holds check for $500 in front of his classroom

Mr. Kai Esaki

High School
Teacher of the Year

Seaside High School

Mr. Kai Esaki comes from a family of educators. He credits his love, passion, and interest to his parents, who are both former educators. Describes by his superiors and colleagues as intelligent and remarkably humble, Mr. Esaki has found success in the classroom by running it on the philosophy of mutual respect.