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Brandy Cox, Del Rio Elementary kindergarten teacher, is 2009 Teacher of the Year

Special to the Review/Les Stukenberg<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Del Rio Elementary School kidergarten teacher, and Yavapai County Education Foundation 2009 Teacher of the Year, Brandy Cox with her class on May 11.

Special to the Review/Les Stukenberg<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Del Rio Elementary School kidergarten teacher, and Yavapai County Education Foundation 2009 Teacher of the Year, Brandy Cox with her class on May 11.

Brandy Cox is the 2009 Yavapai County Education Foundation Teacher of the Year.

A kindergarten teacher at Del Rio Elementary School in Chino Valley Cox received the honor during the 15th annual Teacher of the Year Banquet May 8 at the Prescott Resort.

Cox was among more than 50 teachers recognized by the education foundation for their excellence in the classroom.

District 1 Representative Andy Tobin was among the teachers, administrators, school board members and community members on hand to salute all of the nominees.

"It is neat to see these people; they are the ones you want to see. When you have five children, all who attended public school, this is great," Tobin said.

The Teacher of the Year Banquet honored outstanding teacher in the following categories:

• PreK-3 Grade: Winner Brandy Cox is the most enthusiastic teacher on campus, according to the entire kindergarten team at Del Rio Elementary.

Finalists included Laurie Schreffler, a first grade teacher from Humboldt Elementary in Humboldt Unified School District; and Stephanie Johnson, a first grade teacher at Tavasci Elementary in Cottonwood Oak Creek District.

• Grades 4-8: Winner Patricia Pfeiffer, a fifth grade teacher at West Sedona Elementary, is a veteran teacher of 42 years. However, her principal said, "She is fresh, exciting and innovative each and every day."

Finalists included Nancy Gottschalk, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Camp Verde Middle School; and Brenda Hubbard a fourth grade teacher at Del Rio Elementary School at CVUSD.

• Cross-Grade Specialist: Winner Kristi Spengler is a K-2 special education teacher at Taylor Hicks Elementary in Prescott Unified School District. She integrates her students into the mainstream of student life at school-in the lunchroom, working with fourth grade Bobcat Buddies who read and partner with her students.

Finalists included Pamela Clark, a K-3 Reading Interventionist at Mountain View Elementary in HUSD; and Benjamin Bradstreet, the band instructor at Prescott Mile High Middle School in PUSD.

• High School: Winner Keri Marie DeHerrera is a Spanish teacher at Camp Verde High School. She immerses her students in the entire culture-food, entertainment, geography-and the language used to create it. When they finish her courses, her students say, "I speak Spanish," not "I took Spanish."

Finalists included Janet Anderson, a life skills teacher at Camp Verde High School; and Mark Goligoski a social studies teacher at Prescott High School.

• Small Districts: Winner Beth Cartia is a sixth grade teacher from Clarkdale-Jerome School. She said, "I hope I never lose the thrill of seeing a child's eyes light up when they finally understand a difficult concept."

Finalists include Cheryl Franklin, head teacher for Crown King Elementary; and Ellen Dehnert, a fifth grade from American Heritage Academy.

• Outstanding First-Year Teacher: Winner Ellen Lagasse is a second grade English Language Development teacher at Beaver Creek Elementary School District. Her superintendent describes as "bright, spontaneous, pleasant, kind, funny, creative, organized, extremely hard working and infectiously draws all around her into her fresh and positive attitude."

Finalists included Crytal-lynn McElmurry, a kindergarten English Language Development teacher from Territorial Elementary in CVUSD; and Nikki Hepworth, a first grade teacher at Liberty Traditional School in HUSD. She believes that poetry is so important that she uses a Poetry Suitcase so the students would always carry poems around with them.

The Education Foundation gives a $250 grant to each category finalist, a $500 grant to each category winner and a $1,000 grant to the Teacher of the Year.

Yavapai County Education Foundation Teacher-of-the-Year Committee Chairman Maggie Cox said, "I truly believe that this banquet is important in inspiring teachers. Every teacher knows they could be nominated. There are not limits on the number of teachers a school or district can nominate.

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