Second-grade teacher Linda Horist at Anaheim’s Nohl Canyon Elementary School has been named one of five California Teachers of the Year.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson announced the selections Monday morning.

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Linda Horist, along with her second grade class at Nohl Canyon Elementary School show the “WOW” face. Horist is one of the California Teachers of the Year.

California Teachers of the Year

Timothy Smith, algebra 1 and AP statistics teacher, Florin High School in Sacramento, Elk Grove Unified School District, Sacramento County

Angelo Bracco, special education teacher, Solano Middle School in Vallejo, Vallejo City Unified School District, Solano County

Michael Hayden, choral music and music appreciation teacher, Mira Costa High School, Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles County


Linda Horist, second-grade teacher, Nohl Ranch Elementary School, Anaheim, Orange Unified School District

Jessica Pack, sixth-grade language arts, social studies and technology teacher, James Workman Middle School, Cathedral City, Palm Springs Unified School District, Riverside County

Source: California Department of Education

O.C.’s finalists

Two other Orange County educators were in the running for the state Teacher of the Year title.

• Fifth-grade teacher Scott Bedley of Plaza Vista School in Irvine Unified was one of six finalists.

• Middle school technology and information science teacher Glen Warren of McPherson Magnet School in Orange Unified was one of seven semifinalists.

Source: California Department of Education

A quote from Linda Horist

“Creative engagement strategies are instrumental to the way my classroom operates and student motivation is paramount to building a foundation for learning. From the moment a student enters the classroom, my message is “you can do, be, dream and become anything you want to!” Find the joy in learning and you’ll find the joy in yourself. This is the philosophy I constantly demonstrate to my students.”

— Linda Horist, in her 2014 California Teacher of the Year Application

Source: California Department of Education

Orange County’s Teachers of the Year

Scott Andrew Bedley, a fifth-grade teacher at Irvine’s Plaza Vista School

Linda Horist, a second-grade teacher at Nohl Canyon Elementary in Anaheim Hills

Randy Hudson, a science teacher at Dana Hills High

Alexander Taber, an economics professor at Rancho Santiago Canyon College

Glenn Warren, a technology and information science teacher at McPherson Magnet School in Orange.

Horist prides herself on creating strong connections with her students. Each year, she calls her students the night before school starts so she can assuage any fears and give them a great first day.

She stays in touch with her kids long after they move on, giving them a book of their second-grade works at their sixth-grade graduation and a photo of their second-grade class when they graduate from high school.

She’s been teaching since 1978 and has been at Nohl Canyon Elementary for 13 years.

Horist and 55 of Orange County’s top educators were honored last week with a dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

The Teachers of the Year, finalists and semifinalists will be honored by Torlakson at a gala on Feb. 3. Each teacher was selected after a state committee examined the teachers’ applications, visited the schools to observe them in their classrooms and conducted interviews in Sacramento.

“These outstanding teachers have my thanks and admiration for the work they do every day to provide our students with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to succeed,” Torlakson wrote in a statement. “They bring talent, dedication, and more to a job that is as critical as it is challenging – and even more rewarding.”