PLEASANT HILL -- Twenty-two teachers of the year have been named by 17 school districts, the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the Contra Costa Community College District.

Those who teach grades K-12 are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year competition, vying for one of two spots representing the county in the state teacher of the year program in the fall. A committee of 14 judges representing the county's education, business and public-sector partners will select the four finalists.

"Once again, we have a tremendous group of teachers who have earned their school districts' highest accolades, due to their talents, work ethic and dedication," said Joseph Ovick, county superintendent of schools, in a prepared statement. "These honored educators not only represent their individual schools and school districts, but also embody all of the exceptional teachers we are so fortunate to have in our county."

The county teacher of the year representatives are Nikki Alford, Oakley Union Elementary School District (Gehringer Elementary); Jason Davis, Knightsen Elementary School District (Knightsen Elementary); Keith Johnson, West Contra Costa school district (El Cerrito High); Kevin Jones, Antioch school district (Antioch High); Jane Kelson, Acalanes school district (Campolindo High); Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District (Freedom High); Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg school district (Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High); Patrick Leong, Contra Costa County College District (Diablo Valley College); Dorinda Mas, Byron Union School District (Discovery Bay Elementary); Bruce McCormick, West Contra Costa school district (Portola Middle School); CiCi Migay, Brentwood Union School District (Brentwood Elementary); Tricia Newhart, Orinda Union School District (Del Rey Elementary); Catherine Patterson, John Swett Unified School District (Rodeo Hills Elementary); Ann Ralph, Moraga School District (Donald Rheem Elementary); Gail Robles, Walnut Creek School District (Parkmead Elementary); Joann Rossi, Contra Costa County Office of Education (Early Start Program at Marchus School); Stephen Slater, Mt. Diablo school district (Wren Avenue Elementary); Kara Teach, San Ramon Valley Unified School District (Charlotte Wood Middle School); Olivia Vann, Lafayette School District (Springhill Elementary); Brian Wheeler, Martinez School District (Alhambra High); Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified School District (Coyote Creek Elementary); and Kathleen Young, Mt. Diablo school district (Highlands Elementary).

Winners will be announced in September.