Congratulations to Mr. Paul Drake, Sonoma County Teacher of the Month!
Congratulations to Hidden Valley Elementary School Teacher Paul Drake, winner of the Teacher of the Month award sponsored by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), Mix 104.9, and Community First Credit Union (CFCU). This award, new in 2016, honors one of Sonoma County's most outstanding teachers each month from October through May.
Community members nominate a favorite teacher to Mix 104.9. Then SCOE and CFCU select a winning teacher based on the number of nominations received for that teacher as well as the quality of the nominations. Winners receive a plaque, recognition on Mix 104.9, and a $400 gift card for classroom supplies, courtesy of Platinum Chevrolet.
In November, the second month of the contest, nearly 100 nominations were received. It was a difficult choice, as many of nominations were incredibly moving. Once again, it was very clear that Sonoma County has a wealth of amazing teachers. However, Mr. Drake, who teaches second grade at Hidden Valley Elementary School in Santa Rosa, stood out for the numerous glowing nominations he received from parents and colleagues—nominations that described a man who made an incredibly positive impact on his young students' lives.
Several parents spoke of how Mr. Drake has instilled self esteem in their young child. One said that Mr. Drake had given her overweight child the courage and confidence to walk with head held high. She had never seen her child's grades as wonderful as they were in Mr. Drake's class, she added. Another parent wrote, "Mr. Drake goes above and beyond to meet the needs of his students. He is kind, thoughtful, caring, tough, engaging, funny, serious, and loved by all. He went out on a limb and fundraised for stand-up desks for his classroom and demonstrates on a daily basis the need to appreciate the whole child—believing that social/emotional growth is important too." Mr. Drake is widely loved and respected, according to his school's principal, and works long hours on evenings and weekends to ensure his students receive the best education possible.
When SCOE and Mix 104.9 surprised Mr. Drake with the award in front of his class, all his students cheered and many hugged him.
"As a community, we should be proud of our teachers and what they do," said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. "It's an honor to participate with Community First Credit Union and Mix 104.9 in recognition of our teachers and their service to the students of Sonoma County."
David Williams, VIce President of Marketing and Human Resources at CFCU, added, “Community First was founded as the Sonoma County Schools Credit Union, so putting teachers on the pedestal where they belong is nothing new to us. We are a PROUD local sponsor!”
Dr. Herrington encouraged anyone who knows a wonderful teacher to submit their name, along with an explanation of why they deserve the honor, at the Teacher of the Month page on Mix 104.9. He also encouraged the public to stay tuned for the next winner, who will be announced in January.