Touro University California Student Selected Teacher of the Year

Date: November 13, 2013
Angelo Bracco
Angelo Bracco
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Andrea E. Garcia:
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Vallejo, CA - Retired San Francisco and Concord police officer Angelo “Ang” Bracco has much to boast about now that he’s been selected as one of five 2014 California Teachers of the Year by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

The retired police officer, who served in the San Francisco and Concord police department for 27 years, has been teaching sixth through eighth grade special education for 14 years at Solano Middle School in Vallejo. Add to the mix that he was chair of the Special Education Department for 10 years, holds a special education credential and autism spectrum-disorder certificate, and is a current student in the Special Education program at Touro University California.

"Angelo Bracco is a role model for educators everywhere, and we are proud he is a student at Touro University California,” Justin Heard, Ed. D, Director of the Graduate School of Education at TUC said. “His commitment to students and passion for the community require work and dedication. Our faculty and students have learned a lot from interacting with Angelo."

The 65-year-old teacher feels honored to be selected and admits that his classes at TUC prepared him for the questions imposed by the California Department of Education.

“I felt fortunate to make the top five of the nearly 400,000 teachers in the State of California,” Bracco said. “It’s the classes I’ve taken at Touro that have prepared me for this most difficult interview. I felt I knew about Common Core/Response to Intervention, etc. – all of these essential components that were asked during the interview. I chose Touro for a very good reason.”

The annual competition is open to educators teaching pre-kindergarten through grade twelve. County offices of education nominate winners through their regional Teachers of the Year competitions. A state selection committee reviews candidates' applications and conducts site visits to evaluate the teachers' rapport with students, classroom environment, presentation skills, and teaching methods, among other criteria. The teachers are interviewed at the California Department of Education in Sacramento. The State Superintendent then selects the awardees.

The 2014 California Teachers of the Year, the finalists, and semi-finalists will be honored by Torlakson at a gala to be held February 3, 2014. For more information on the award program, please visit the California Department of Education’s California Teachers of the Year Web page.

Profile on Angelo “Ang” Bracco from his application:

“My students are a reflection of me. If I am successful, they will be also. I view my students as being at the starting line of a journey. As staff, we are well trained in knowing what our students can and can’t accomplish. After school, I have a parade of students that come to visit me. Many show me their daily grades. We spend time to discuss how we might improve their academics and other aspect of their lives.”

—Mr. Bracco, from his 2014 California Teacher of the Year Application

Bracco was in law enforcement for 27 years as a police officer in San Francisco and Concord, both locales in which he was selected Police Officer of the Year.

After his retirement, he wanted to work with challenged youth and pursued his teaching credential. Hired on an “emergency credential,” he began teaching a special education class at Solano Middle School, where he taught severely emotionally disturbed students. The class soon became a model and the program was acknowledged district-wide and attracted many newly-hired teachers, who came to observe and learn.

He has been at Solano Middle School for 14 years and has been the chair of the Special Education Department for 10 years. Bracco has earned a Special Education Credential and an Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate.

Robert Russell, principal of Solano Middle School, described Bracco as “an exceptional teacher who has a genuine concern and interest in the education of our students (who) . . . are always engaged, comfortable, disciplined, and show Mr. Bracco a level of respect that very few teachers ever achieve. (He) consistently promotes excellent student achievement through highly effective use of the curriculum.”