State Honors Teachers of the Year

“These innovative and caring teachers have made profound differences in the lives of their students and their communities.” —Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Five outstanding educators were named California Teachers of the Year in October 2022 for exceeding expectations during one of the most challenging times in our country’s history.

Announced by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, these educators are ambassadors for the profession and serve as state representatives for the calendar year.

“In what could be the most challenging time for Californian families, students and educators, these five innovative and caring teachers have made profound differences in the lives of their students and communities,” says Thurmond. “I am proud that these educators are receiving this prestigious honor for their continued efforts to connect with students even in unimaginable circumstances, to meet their needs and support them in any way possible.”

Meet California’s Teachers of the Year 2022.


Alondra Diaz,

third-grade general education and dual immersion teacher at Ralph A. Gates Elementary School in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. Diaz is a member of the Saddleback Valley Educators Association. Diaz was also selected by Thurmond to be California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. The 2022 National Teacher of the Year will be announced in the spring.


Nichi Avina

Nichi Avina,

middle school science teacher at Cielo Vista Charter School in the Palm Springs Unified School District. Avina is a member of the Palm Springs Teachers Association.


Sovantevy Long LatteriSovantevy Long-Latteri,

special education teacher at La Sierra High School in the Fullerton Joint Union School District. Long-Latteri is a member of the Fullerton Secondary Teachers Organization.


Tiffany Jokerst

Tiffany Jokerst,

high school math and engineering teacher at West Hills High School in the Grossmont Union School District. Jokerst is a member of the Grossmont Education Association.


Virginia Vasquez

Virginia Vasquez,

AP language and composition teacher at San Gabriel High School in the Alhambra Unified School District. Vasquez is a member of the Association of Teachers of the Alhambra.


Presented by California Casualty and supported by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage and inspire new teachers to enter the profession.

CTA President E. Toby Boyd thanks the winners for their inspiring dedication.

“During a pandemic that has tested teachers around the world, these educators have gone above and beyond and made an extraordinary difference in the lives of their students,” he says. “We congratulate them on receiving this prestigious honor and being recognized for their excellent teaching, innovation, creativity and ability to connect with students. You are the pride of our profession.

For more information on the California Teachers of the Year program, visit cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/ct.

Andrew B. Reiter