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Jessica Kerber standing with co-winner Kevin Kiyoi of Pleasanton Unified.


Issued By:        

Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi (510) 337-7060 
Board President Heather Little  (510) 337-7187           

Encinal’s Jessica Kerber Wins County Teacher of the Year Award

Alameda ­– October 6, 2023 – Jessica Kerber, an English teacher in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), was selected last night as one of two Alameda County Teachers of the Year at the 34th Annual Alameda County Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony in Castro Valley.

Ms. Kerber, who was chosen as AUSD’s 2023 Teacher of the Year this past April, received her Bachelor’s degree from from UC Berkeley, and her teaching credential through Project Pipeline. She has been teaching English at Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School since 2005.

“I feel so honored and humbled to be named Alameda County Teacher of the Year,” Ms. Kerber says. “All teachers deserve recognition – the work we do is challenging in ways that are hard to put into words. I know how much my fellow teachers give to their students, and I know that they are making an impact despite the challenges.

“I hope to bring attention to the stellar teaching that is happening not just in our district but Encinal specifically,” she continues. “There are so many ways to be a great teacher – Encinal has shown me this. I am grateful to be able to do this amazing work- my students are inspiring and fun, and have shaped me into the teacher I am today. Teaching not only brings me joy but gives me purpose. So to be honored for this work is just incredible.”

Ms. Kerber is the third AUSD teacher to be named a County Teacher of the Year in the last six years. Kevin Gorham received the award in 2017, and Pauline Stahl received the award in 2019. Both were also EHS teachers.

The other County Teacher of the Year this year is Kevin Kiyoi, a high school computer science teacher in Pleasanton Unified School District.

 “Natural ability”

 Colleagues who submitted recommendation letters cited Ms. Kerber’s high professional standards and ability to both engage and connect with students. “Jessica’s teaching style is both engaging and effective,” one nominator wrote. “She has a natural ability to connect with her students and make content come alive for them. One of the things that I appreciate about Ms. Kerber is her ability to hold her students to high expectations while simultaneously differentiating instruction based on their individual needs. She is masterful at this.”

Nominators also referenced Ms. Kerber’s skill as a leader and collaborator (she has served as both the chair of the EHS English Department and the professional development lead), as well as her creation and initiation of the “Mental Health Matters” English class at the site. In that course, students read novels that focus on mental health matters and also research topics such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, and gender norms.

“Motivating Students by Engaging Them”

“Ms. Kerber’s craft and strategy as a teacher is emblematic of the type of instruction we are committed to bringing to all AUSD classrooms,” says Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi. “That is instruction based on motivating students by engaging them, compelling them by finding material relevant to them, and sharing best practices and insights by collaborating with other educators. We are thrilled to have her as part of our team.”

Adds Board President Heather Little, “We are beyond excited that Ms. Kerber is being honored this way. She is a thoughtful, gifted, and skilled educator who very generously shares and models her talents with other educators in our district. She inspires all of us to do the very best we can to raise, educate, and support our students.”

Ms. Kerber was selected from the eighteen Alameda County school district Teachers of the Year, each of whom submitted extensive applications for panel review. The winners were announced at an event at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts that was attended by about 250 people. She is now eligible to compete for the California Teacher of the Year position.

“Educators create that magical space that makes a difference – a space where students can explore and discover better versions of themselves,” ACOE Superintendent Alysse Castro said in a press release. “I am grateful for our teachers in this county and commend the work that they do in drawing out our students’ best each and every day.”