Fresno County Teacher of the Year Awarded to Kent Hammons

FRESNO, Calif. There were more than 60 nominees and finalists ... Clerical Assistant Amanda James of Central Unified was awarded employee of the year, Principal Rosario Sanchez of Fresno Unified won administrator of the year ... and we caught up with Thursday night's big winner ... Teacher of the Year Kent Hammons.

Graciela Moreno with Action News announced the winner, "Ladies and gentlemen please help us congratulate this year's Fresno County Teacher of the Year ... from the Fresno County Office of Education, Kent Hammons."

Special Education Teacher Kent Hammonds says he never expected to win the Teacher of the Year Award. He said, "They announced my name and everybody sitting next to me started screaming and yelling and ... I just didn't know how to react."

In the classroom Hammons says he teaches his students who are in wheelchairs with orthopedic impairments and developmental disabilities how to function in society.

Lessons on math might include how to handle money ... or a reading lesson how to use a restaurant menu.

"I've had students that have gone out to a restaurant for the first time in their lives and that's huge for them. I mean we take that stuff for granted, and we would hate to be without it for them that's a huge, huge thing," said Hammons.

Some students have found their voice with Hammons help.

Student Edgar Vicuna said, "I like how Ken has helped me speak my mind through my device."

Student Francisco Cubillo said, "I might not do it as fast as the average person, but I can do it. I can meet the goal and Ken has told me you can do it. I know you can do it."

His supervisor says his teacher of the year award validates a quiet hero. Cinde Abbate said, "Kent doesn't bring a lot of attention to himself, he's quiet he quietly loves and teaches the kids." And they love him back.

"When I started working with these individuals every one of them God made them with a purpose and every one of them can contribute to life," said Hammons.

Hammons is currently working to take his 20 students to Disneyland in the spring ... he says because they need special accommodations it will take lots of money.

If you would like to donate of sponsor a student call (559) 251-8001 or email

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