BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Superintendent of Schools announced this year’s Teachers of the Year finalists.

The finalists are eligible to apply for the California Teacher of the Year program. The Kern County Teacher of the Year Selection Committee will then submit two applications to the California Department of Education to be considered for the California Teacher of the Year honor.

Kurt Keckley

Keckley is a special education teacher at Frontier High School. Keckley devoted his work to closing the achievement gap for students with disabilities and preparing them for success after high school, according to a news release.

Outside oft he classroom, he is involved in clubs that reach underserved youth. He also designed a game to teach about World War I, which United States Military Academy West Point professor, Lt. Col. Channing Greene asked to use during his lessons at West Point, with whom Keckley collaborated on a lesson plan. This project was presented at a military conference.

Kelsea Linnell

Linnell is a K-8 literacy intervention teacher at Elk Hills School.

KCSOS highlighted Linnell’s leadership skills “as she coordinated, designed, and implemented a new literacy intervention program from the ground up and took on the lead role in the effort to shift the climate and culture around reading,” the release said.

The release said every grade level has showed improvement in literacy due to Linnell’s programs, according to the release.

She also created a “book tasting” activity to get students engaged in reading. She set up a cafe-like environment with books at each table. Students would circulate around the room, read a little bit of each book and write down the titles they would like to further explore.

Hanna Rahberger

Rahberger is an 8th grade history teacher at Paul L. Cato Middle School.

Rachberger aims to create a learning environment that promotes confidence and freedom of learning for students, according to the release. Her philosophy is such: “When teachers provide engaging and purposeful learning experiences, students show up to learn.”

Rahberger was also on the KCSOS History Curriculum Team during the pandemic helping design virtual learning lesson plans.