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Fresno County Teacher, Employee, Administrator Are Educators of the Year for 2020



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A Sanger Unified music teacher is Fresno County’s teacher of the year, one of the county’s three Educators of the Year for 2020 named Sunday.

Nancy Price

School Zone

The award winners were announced Sunday in a live broadcast on ABC30 that was co-sponsored by the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and the Educational Employees Credit Union.

Teacher of the Year

Catherine Cooper, a teacher for 20 years, is the district elementary music teacher for Quail Lake Environmental Charter/Jefferson Elementary/Madison Elementary.

“I believe in the power of singing, dancing and playing to unlock the expressive and creative potential of all my students — grades kindergarten through sixth,” she said. “Regardless of the grade level, I am committed to using music as a lens through which my students can access a wider world filled with diverse perspectives.”

Employee of the Year

Annette J. Montague is an administrative assistant in the Fresno Unified district office.

Montague, who has worked in education for 27 years, said of her position, “I commit every day to contributing to the success of our FUSD goals. It is my mission to ensure that every family, every child, every person who comes across my way feels they are cared for, loved and heard.”

Administrator of the Year

Aaron Bryan is the director of the visual and performing arts department in the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and has worked in education for 18 years.

“As a lifelong artist and music teacher, I have seen firsthand the benefits of arts education for students and the transformative power of arts in schools and communities.”

The teacher of the year and employee of the year can apply for the California Department of Education awards in 2021.

Jesse Ceron, the school resource officer at Kastner Intermediate School in the Clovis Unified School District, is the annual Barnett Award winner.

The Barnett Award is given to an educator who has demonstrated a “servant heart” through his or her devotion to students and love of community.

Fresno State Gets Top Marks for Social Mobility

“This latest ranking is another way to show the power of education and the talent that exists in every household.” — President Joseph I. Castro

Fresno State has been recognized for the fourth year in a row as one of the nation’s leaders in providing access to higher education to students from lower income families — and graduating those students to higher-paying jobs.

The university ranked No. 3 out of 1,449 schools nationwide in the 2020 Social Mobility Index, behind No. 1 Baruch College in New York and No. 2 California State University, Los Angeles.

The state’s public universities, California State University and University of California, claimed 70% of the top 20 spots in the rankings, and Fresno State was one of four CSUs that has been ranked in the top 20 for the past seven years.

“Fresno State has proven to be a key driver in social mobility, providing a high-quality education at an affordable price, which helps students to succeed and become part of the next generation of leaders,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “This latest ranking is another way to show the power of education and the talent that exists in every household.”

The index is compiled by CollegeNet, a developer of web technology for colleges and universities.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email