California Teachers of the Year

Recognizing california's Award-Winning Educators

The California Masonic Foundation is proud to support the exemplary educators throughout our state, especially those who are chosen to receive the prestigious California Teacher of the Year Award. Here, this year’s awardees share their perspectives of the practice of teaching.

Jaime Yumiko Brown

San Diego High School of International Studies, San Diego

“’Kodomo no tame ni.’ This Japanese phrase means ‘for the sake of the children,’ and it has become my personal mantra thanks to my maternal grandparents. The phrase encapsulates so much: a sense of purpose, encouragement to persist in the face of adversity, and a demand to consider the bigger picture. Teachers today can serve as powerful linchpins of support and compassion for our students. Why do we do what we do? Kodomo no tame ni.”

Kirsten Farrell

Venice High School, Los Angeles

“Through my role as a teacher, I have contributed to changing the world. What I have taught my students can be compared to a pebble dropped in the water, as the ripples will continue long after I am gone. I have taught future doctors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and paramedics. Because of what has happened in Shop-6 at Venice High School, someone’s life will be saved.”

Gregory Gardiner

Edison High School, Huntington Beach

“Teaching is challenging work and my challenge to my colleagues all across America is this: join me. Innovate. Sustain. Connect. Together, I’m positive we can improve education for all our students. And I’m positive our students will change the world.”

Brian McDaniel – National Teacher of the Year Candidate

Painted Hills Middle School, Desert Hot Springs

“An outstanding teacher is a force of nature, an earthquake looking for every opportunity to burst through the surface and change the world. The power of an outstanding teacher can generate countless aftershocks long after they’ve passed on.”
— Brian McDaniel

Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin

Northlake Hills Elementary School, Castaic

“Teaching is an ever-evolving profession, requiring teachers to embrace change and a growth mindset. I strengthen and improve the teaching profession because I never lose sight of what is best for my students. I always put kids first!”