Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

February 28, 2006 > Excellence in Education

Excellence in Education

by Sindhuja Srinivasan

Fremont's Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Sandi Pantages have been honored for their "Excellence in Education" at Fremont Education Foundation Gala celebration held Saturday, February 25 at the Fremont Marriott Hotel.

Cheryl Cook-Kallio

Cheryl Cook-Kallio describes herself as "a product of Fremont" not only because she has been living in Fremont since she was 3 years old, but she attended the following Fremont schools: Grimmer Elementary, Hopkins Jr. high school, and Mission High school. After completing high school, Cook-Kallio received a scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Following studies at North Carolina, she headed back to California and received Social Science, English, and Spanish credentials at San Jose State University.

Originally Cook-Kallio wanted to attend law school; she says becoming a teacher was "almost an accident". Many people, including Tony Gelfuso her school counselor, encouraged her to pursue a career as a teacher but it was only after becoming a teacher in 1977, that she realized how much she loved to teach.

In 1997, Cook-Kallio became one of 61 recipients of the highly honored James Madison Fellowship award by the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation of Washington D.C. This award allowed her to attend a 6-week course at Georgetown University. Cook-Kallio spent those weeks fulfilling a dream - intensively studying the U.S. constitution at the national archives. Later she became the 97th Madison Fellow for California, a Congressional Fellow in 2002. She worked at Senator Feinstein's office in 2005, and became the first Madison Fellow to have the honor of working in the Education Division of the Federal Court System.

Cook-Kallio came to Irvington High School in 2000 to teach We the People and U.S. History. When asked about her impressive work ethic, she modestly explained, "You don't do quality work without being around people of quality."

Sandi Pantages

Ms. Sandi Pantages has served the community for many years. She was a member of the Fremont board of education for thirteen years and has expanded the knowledge of many students by doing so.

After graduating from UCLA, Pantages went to Washington DC and worked at the Library of Congress in the main reading room as a reference librarian for three years.

As a citizen of Fremont, her participation with countless organizations is legendary. She has contributed through 32 years of work at the Alameda County Library; and her role in creating the Alameda County Library Foundation to raise money in support of library services.

Since the 1970's, Pantages has been very involved with the League of Women Voters becoming president of the organization in 1985.

In 1987, she began her service with Niles Rotary Club - an international organization that provides humanitarian service and donates funds for hands-on projects. Pantages has also worked as a Fremont Symphony Orchestra volunteer for several years.

Pantages worked on the downtown planning committee in the 1990s during which she helped develop a downtown plan for the city of Fremont. She also worked for the citizen's advisory committee at this time. This committee focused on providing citizen input for specific policies developed by the police department.

Mrs. Sandi Pantages states that "there are tons of organizations to be involved in, and organizations are what contribute to the success of our community". She says that "working in Fremont has been a delight because it is a wonderful place to live, work, and volunteer."

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