PLEASANT HILL -- Four top educators from three school districts were named Wednesday as finalists in the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year competition.

The finalists are: Cindy Egan and Nicholas Zefeldt of the San Ramon Valley district; Carissa Sugden of the Mt. Diablo district; and Beth Levine of the West Contra Costa district. In September, a panel of educators, business representatives and community members will select two teachers of the year who will advance to the statewide contest in the fall.

The finalists were chosen by a committee from among five semifinalists and more than 20 district Teachers of the Year, based on applications, classroom observations and interviews. The two teachers who will represent the county will be selected based on speech and presentation skills after all four finalists give three- to five-minute speeches.

Egan teaches biology and AP environmental science at San Ramon Valley High in Danville, Zefeldt teaches fifth grade at Live Oak Elementary in San Ramon, Levine teaches fourth- and fifth-graders at Montalvin Manor Elementary in San Pablo and Sugden teaches fifth grade at El Monte Elementary in Concord. Both Egan and Levine are former engineers. Sugden and Zefeldt have both taught elementary-age children for more than five years.

More than 7,900 teachers educate approximately 169,000 students in public schools throughout Contra Costa County, according to a news release. The 22 district Teachers of the Year represent 17 school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District and the County Office of Education, which administers the competition.

The 20 representatives who teach grades pre-K through 12 were eligible to compete in the county competition and to move onto the state program. The county will name two representatives this year, after naming only one since 1988.

Theresa Harrington covers education. Contact her at 925-945-4764. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.

MORE INFORMATION
Additional details about the Teacher of the Year program, including the names of all 22 Contra Costa County district representatives, is available by calling 925-942-3429 or by visiting www.cocoschools.org. Click "2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Finalists Named."