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Teacher of the Year
2018 Teacher of the Year Timeline:




July 20th, 2018 by 4:00 p.m.

Deadline for Ventura County Teacher of the Year to submit application to the Ventura County Office of Education to be reviewed and mailed to the California Department of Education by VCOE.


The state selection committee, made up of Teachers, administrators, and organization representatives, reviews applications.

September - October

County offices of education are contacted to arrange site visits for selected applicants.


Site visits are conducted by a team of Teacher-observers.

October - November

Selected applicants are interviewed by a state selection committee that includes the State Superintendent of Public Instruction or his designee.


State Superintendent of Public Instruction makes the final decisions and personally notifies the California Teachers of the Year.


The California Department of Education publicly announces 2011 California Teachers of the Year in a news release.


California Teachers of the Year meet at the California Department of Education in Sacramento to be photographed and to learn more about their role as statewide representatives of the profession.


The Council of Chief State School Officers is notified of California’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year program.


California Teachers of the Year and semi-finalists are honored at a special reception and dinner in Sacramento hosted by the California Department of Education, the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, and sponsors.

Beginning in 1973, Ventura County began recognizing outstanding teachers. The program results in the annual selection of one teacher countywide who reflects the diversity of our teachers and students. The process pays tribute to Ventura County's teaching force, the complexity of challenges that confront our schools, and the need to promote collaboration and teamwork to meet those challenges. Ventura County honorees have gone on to be named State Teacher of the Year in 1994, 2003 and 2013. A complete list of past Ventura County recipients is available here

The Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE) invites school districts, charter schools, professional organizations, and private schools countywide to participate in the California Educator of the Year Program. This program highlights educational innovation, student learning, and the rewards of teaching. Further, the program attracts public attention to the positive aspects of our educational system.

Ventura County seeks to: Identify and honor exemplary and highly qualified teacher in Ventura County; Select one teacher to serve as Ventura County’s Teacher of the Year who will effectively represent Ventura County at the state's Teacher of the Year Program; Focus public attention on the positive accomplishments of Ventura County teachers and students.

Eligibility to the Ventura County Educator of the Year Program is limited to candidates who have been submitted to the Ventura County Office of Education by a school district, charter school, private school, or professional organization and that meet any of the following criteria: Fully credentialed teachers in public or private schools who teach any of pre-kindergarten through grade twelve; Library media teachers who collaboratively plan and teach with classroom teachers; Teachers of adults who provide instruction in the same curriculum as those who teach in elementary or secondary grades; Instructors who have some administrative responsibilities for whom teaching is the applicant's primary responsibility.

2018 Ventura County Teacher of the Year

Kirsten Barajas

Kirsten Barajas of Juan Soria Elementary School in the Oxnard School District is the 2018 Ventura County Teacher of the Year.  

Barajas is in her 19th year as an educator in the Oxnard School District. She currently teaches sixth grade math and English language arts to Dual Language Immersion students. 

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