California Teacher of the Year finalist Mandy Redfern, a kindergarten teacher at La Cañada Elementary School who advanced through the statewide competition, was in Sacramento Monday for a gala event capping the annual program presented by California Casualty and the California Teachers of the Year Foundation.
While in the state capitol, Redfern visited with state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), who presented her with a certificate recognizing her achievement, noting as he did so that both of his children attended the same campus Redfern has taught at for several years.
Last fall, Redfern, a former president of the La Cañada Teachers Assn., was one of 16 teachers out of the county's 72,000 educators to be recognized as a Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year. As the competition progressed, she was named one of 12 finalists for the state honor.
"Mandy is just an awesome teacher and it was such an honor to see her in Sacramento receiving this recognition. Her hard work and dedication to our district as well as her patience and dedication with helping educate my two daughters, Sofia and Bella makes this recognition even more special," Portantino said in a statement issued Tuesday morning.
Five of the finalists were named 2018 Teachers of the Year: Brian McDaniel, Desert Hot Springs; Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin, Castaic; Kirsten Farrell, Los Angeles; Jaime Brown, Santee; and Gregory Gardiner, Huntington Beach. McDaniel was nominated by state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson as California's representative in the upcoming National Teacher of the Year competition.
"These teachers are deeply committed, hardworking and creative, stated Torlakson, in announcing the winners. "They help students find their inner strengths and achieve their dreams, while inspiring, challenging and supporting them every day. They represent the best of their profession."