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Mt. Diablo High teacher Natasha Paul named County Teacher of the Year Finalist!
Posted 5/9/22


Mt. Diablo HS teacher Natasha Paul stands with her 9th Grade English students after learning she is a County Teacher of the Year finalist.


Mt. Diablo High School teacher Natasha Paul got a big surprise last Tuesday - National Teacher Appreciation Day - when Contra Costa County Superintendent Lynn Mackey walked into her 9th Grade English class unexpectedly and announced that Paul has been selected as one of four County Teacher of the Year finalists! The county will select its two Teachers of the Year in September, who will go onto compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.

"It was quite the rigorous process," Mackey said, as she handed Paul a plaque recognizing her achievement. "She was selected by her peers, there were quite a few levels of screening, and speeches, and she was selected as one of the top educators in Contra Costa County." Paul said the announcement was "a huge surprise." She accepted flowers from her husband and two daughters, and was also congratulated by Principal Lorne Barbosa, School Board President Debra Mason and Board Members Cherise Khaund and Linda Mayo, along with Velma Wilson, the 32nd District PTA Vice President of Membership.

Mason pointed out that Paul is now teaching in her alma mater. "It has to be very gratifying for you to be back where you started, enriching the lives of families where you went to school," Mason said. "We’re very proud of you and we stand behind you all the way."

Paul said she is proud to be able to teach in her community. "It’s so important," she said. "When I go to the store, or I go to a restaurant with my family, and I run into my students, it’s a great source of pride for me." In an interview with KRON news, Paul said this has been her most challenging year of teaching due to the pandemic. "I’ve completely changed how I teach," she said. "I'm trying new ways of grading and new ways of delivering instruction. I think the only way to move forward is to do things differently because these kids are not the same kids as they were back in 7th grade." But Paul said teaching is definitely worth the effort. "I think it’s worth it because this is our future - and if you want to make a difference in how our world looks, then you need to be at the ground level, which is where I am."