Mr. Ed Zeidler, fourth grade teacher at Penngrove Elementary, received the Sonoma County Teacher of the Month award for January in a surprise presentation met with wild cheers from his students, teachers, and parents. This award is 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 January, the third month of the contest, more than 80 nominations were received. Once again, it was a difficult choice, as many of nominations were incredibly moving. However, Mr. Zeidler—or Mr. Z, as his students know him—stood out for the numerous glowing nominations he received from parents and students.
The nominations described a teacher who is caring, patient, and fun, who plays with his students over recess and holds a homework club to help them with difficult math homework. He is one of "those teachers," wrote one parent, adding that his former students often come back just to hang out in his class.
His class is always open for kids to find warmth on cold mornings and games to play if they don't want to play outside," wrote another parent, adding, "he truly cares about each child and it reflects in every area."
When SCOE and Mix 104.9 announced Mr. Zeidler's award in front of the Penngrove Elementary student body, the multi-purpose room erupted in spontaneous cheers of "Mr. Z! Mr. Z!" Mr. Zeidler thanked his students and colleagues for helping him to be the teacher he is. Smiling, he said the surprise had made his day, his month, and his year.
"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 February.