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MDUSD Educator Natasha Paul is named a Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year!
Posted 9/23/22

The County awards program also honored District Teachers of the Year including Katalina Gallo


Katalina Gallo

County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey announced Thursday that Natasha Paul, who taught for several years at Mt. Diablo High before moving to Concord High this year, is one of two 2022-2023 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year, along with Chavonta Edington of Diablo Vista Middle School  in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The pair are now eligible to apply to the California State Teachers of the Year program.  
The county’s 50th annual Teacher of the Year Gala at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek honored all 19 Contra Costa Teachers who were chosen as District Teachers of the Year, including Katalina Gallo of Mt. Diablo High. The county Teacher of the Year program started in 1973 to honor and recognize teachers throughout the county for the commendable work they do every day.
“All of the honored educators deserve our thanks,” Mackey said. “We appreciate them for their hard work but also for the guidance and relationships they have forged with students, giving them inspiration for college and careers in the future as well as the confidence to take on academic challenges they will face throughout their educational journeys.”  
Natasha Paul is a 19-year teaching veteran, spending the last 16 years as a 9th – 12th grade English teacher at Mt. Diablo High School. “My greatest pride has been working with the career academies at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord,” Paul said. “The first 14 years of my career I worked with an incredible, innovative group of teachers in the Digital Safari Academy. Together, we built the program from a 2-year, 11th and 12th grade multi-media curriculum focused on project-based learning, to a 4-year, 9-12th dual pathway program, incorporating Multimedia, Computer Science, Art, English, and Social Studies.”

Mt. Diablo Unified School District Instructional Coach Jeanne M. Johnson said: “Natasha has developed as a leader who models innovative teaching strategies through reflection and dedication to improving students' well-being and overall learning outcomes. She exhibits strength in vulnerability when challenged, which is a great model for our students. Natasha works very hard to create a balance between challenging her students and making them feel safe and cared for.”

Mt. Diablo HS student and MDUSD Student Board Member Anahi Nava Flores introduced Paul during the program, praising her commitment to creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive learning environment for students. In her finalist speech, Paul said she has learned humility, empathy and hope from her students. Also during the program, both Paul and Gallo spoke about the importance of equity in their teaching. You can see the program, which included a performance by the Northgate choir and a short speech from former District, County and State Teacher of the Year Rosie Reid, here.


Paul is a member of the National Council of Teachers (NCTE), California Teachers Association (CTA), California Association of Teachers of English (CATE), and a Board Member of a Curriculum Study Commission where she helps plan and implement an annual conference for English and ELD teachers in Asilomar, CA.
A graduate of Cal Poly University at San Luis Obispo where she earned a BA in English, Paul received her teaching certificate from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. She is currently taking courses through Cal State East Bay to earn a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential.  
Taking on leadership roles in staff development, she has served as a WASC Committee Co-Chair, Planning committee member of an Immigration Resources Fair, 9th grade English Lead Teacher, ACME Academy Co-Lead Teacher, and in 2022 was part of the Equitable Grading PLC at Mount Diablo High School. Additionally, she has served as Participating Teacher for Student Teachers affiliated with several local universities and has contributed to numerous professional development conferences and workshops over the course of her career. Paul also received the Certificate of Mastery from the 2021-2022 Modern Classrooms Project Mentorship Program.  Mt. Diablo is her Alma Mater and a place she has taught at for sixteen years.    
Paul and Edington were selected as winners from four finalists that were announced in the spring. The other two finalists were Serina Culleton of Donald L. Rheem Elementary School (Moraga School District) and Paula L. Rathert of Murwood Elementary School (Walnut Creek School District). The finalists were selected from the 19 district teachers of the year which represented 16 school districts, the county office and community college district.  
Paul and Edington will represent Contra Costa County at the California State Teacher of the Year competition. The State Teachers of the Year are expected to be announced in mid-October. The county teacher of the year program is coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).  


More about Natasha Paul and Katalina Gallo is here.