Sonoma County Office of Education

Dr. Amie Carter Celebrates Jen Uken, Sonoma County's Teacher of the Year

05/24/2024 -

Dr. Amie Carter celebrates with teacher Jen Uken and Principal Michael Jablonski at Albert F. Biella Elementary SchoolSonoma County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Amie Carter celebrated Sonoma County’s 2024 Teacher of the Year, Jen Uken, during an all-school assembly on Friday, May 24, at Albert F. Biella Elementary School in Santa Rosa.

Dr. Carter praised Uken, who is bilingual and teaches 1st grade at Biella, for pitching in to translate and serve as the school’s webmaster. Dr. Carter highlighted that Uken shared in her application that she was a former “naughty child” who had difficulty in school.

“(Uken) says that makes her an even better teacher because she knows how it can be, sometimes, to get a little wiggly and a little naughty,” Dr. Carter said. “I love that.”

The Teacher of the Year program is facilitated by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) and Dr. Carter. As Sonoma County’s 2023-24 Teacher of the Year, Uken will move on for consideration as a California Teacher of the Year for 2025. The California Department of Education announces state teachers of the year in the fall.

SCOE will recognize Uken, Teacher of the Year runner-up Shala Pace of Thomas Page Academy, and other nominees during a celebration at SCOE on Sept. 18. At that event, Uken will receive a check for $3,000 from Community First Credit Union, and Pace will receive $1,500.

“I’m just so honored that a panel of professionals deemed me worthy of this incredible honor,” Uken said.

Uken talked about the importance she places on gratitude in her classroom, saying, “I’m glad to have an opportunity to live up to my own standards.” She thanked all of the school staff at Biella; the school’s principal, Michael Jablonski; her wife and family, who attended the celebration; and especially her current and former students.

“You have brought immeasurable joy to my life, treasured memories, and you inspire me every day. And I couldn’t be a teacher without you! So thank you,” Uken said.

Learn more about the Sonoma County Teacher of the Year program at