Two teachers among county's best

Two Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley teachers were among five honored with the 2013 Orange County Teachers of the Year award during a celebration Oct. 19 at the Disneyland Hotel, according to the Orange County Department of Education.

John H. Wood, who teaches at Talbert Middle School in the Fountain Valley School District, and Deanna Zamiska, who teaches at Peterson Elementary School in the Huntington Beach City School District, each received $15,000 from the Dr. James Hines Foundation, said Sharon Nelson, Orange County Department of Education coordinator of academic events.

The three other finalists were Cypress College Professor Victoria Castle, Arnold O. Beckman High School teacher David Goldenberg and Peters Canyon Elementary School teacher Jennifer Sandland, who also each received the $15,000 award.

The theme of the event, which recognized the teachers' dedication to their students, was "A Day In The Life," according to a release by the department of education.

The Dr. James Hines Foundation, named after a literature professor at Saddleback College, receives the funds through donations from Orange County residents Bill and Sue Gross, Nelson said.

This year, the couple donated $150,000, which was distributed among the 55 school teachers and community college professors who were nominated in this year's Teacher of the Year program.

Each of the nine semi-finalists received $3,300 and the rest of the nominees received $1,100 each, Nelson said.

Four of the five finalists — the school teachers — will go on to compete at the state level for the Teacher of the Year awards, Nelson said.

Friday's celebration was sponsored by the SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, the release said.

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