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July 10, 2007 > Rotary education awards announced

Rotary education awards announced

On June 18, the Milpitas Rotary Club presented its prestigious Leo B. Murphy Awards for educational excellence at the Embassy Suites Hotel. TCV congratulates them for their outstanding performance and contributions to the youth of the community. Recipients include:

Hardeep Soper - Burnett Elementary
With 19 years of teaching experience, her actions go well beyond the duties of her 2nd grade classroom or her extra duty assignments. Ms. Soper's dedication and caring reverberates throughout the school community. She consistently shows patience, flexibility and understanding with students and faculty alike and is altruistic in her actions.


Nancy Johnson - Pomeroy Elementary
During 27 years of Kindergarten teaching experience, Ms. Johnson has remained motivated, always looking for ways to improve her teaching. She will do anything for other staff members.


Patti Smith - Randall Elementary
With 23 years of teaching experience, she is dedicated to the support of Randall students and staff. She maintains high expectations for herself and for her students and continually gives her time and talents for the betterment of Randall School.


Adrienne Hughes - Sinnott Elementary
A grade 1 & 2 teacher for 7 years, Adrienne exemplifies what all teachers should strive to be. She is passionate and hard working. In her classroom, students experience equally engaging ways to learn, use, develop, and present concepts as a part of their daily learning process giving students the opportunity to take greater responsibility and ownership for their own learning.


Celeste Bates - Weller Elementary
1 & 2 Grade Teacher, 7 years of teaching experience. She is not only an excellent teacher but has continued to improve her craft by always learning and trying new instructional strategies. She works with the lowest 1st grade students to ensure that they will be successful readers daily, before and after school; giving them the tools they need to be readers and writers. Celeste is fearless; she never holds back on contributing her professional opinion, for the best interest of the occasion.


Patti Belanger - Zanker Elementary
A Kindergarten teacher with 11 years experience. She is an outstanding classroom teacher, lifelong learner and dedicated professional. She is a dynamic and caring teacher who provides the best educational program possible for her students. She is nurturing and positive, but challenges each child to reach his/her highest potential.


James Coulson - Rancho Middle School
7 years of teaching experience as an Art teacher. Jim goes the extra mile to support students and teachers. He is the advisor of the art club, teaches the art GATE class before school, started the "Pay it Forward" community service project at Rancho, and as a Team Lead, he often organizes team rallies to boost students' school spirit and sense of belonging. He supports his colleagues by providing ideas on using art to enhance curriculum.


Catherine Mellera - Milpitas High School
English/Facing History teacher with 24 years of teaching experience. She demonstrates her passion and fire for teaching and continues to be a learner. Her concern for social justice led her to sponsor the Amnesty International Club on campus. In her class "Facing History and Ourselves" students have opportunity for thoughtful discourse among students of various cultures about man's inhumanity to man through a look at the Holocaust and the impact of racism in America.


Lisa Samy - Calaveras Hills High School
English/Economic Teacher with 5 years of teaching experience. She is a highly competent teacher and enthused about new ways to reach students and motivate them. She has the ability to really get kids to think and engaged in discussion, which not an easy task. She is highly respected by both students and staff.


Ellia Juta - Child Development Center
9 years of teaching experience. She is a highly competent teacher, and always goes out of her way to help parents, staff and the children. She is always eager to learn and open for suggestion.


Ann Taguchi - Milpitas Adult Education
ESL Teacher 14 years of teaching experience. She is a competent teacher with lots of experience. She supports staff in the learning process.


George Gates - Corrections Department
Substance Abuse Prevention Teacher
9 years of teaching experience. He has taught students at Elmwood in the areas of parenting, domestic violence prevention, and has started a new program in industries, new class in safety, substance abuse prevention, and job readiness. He has found ways to combine art, poetry and music with his classes. There are many hundreds of people who are out of jail and living productive lives because of George Gates.


Henry Robinson - Educational Services Department
As the At-Risk Program Specialist for MUSD with 37 years of teaching experience, Henry positively affects students, staff and Milpitas families grades K-12. He is generous with his time and consistently available to ensure optimum socio-economic, educational, physical and emotional well-being for student and families networking with social services and community agencies.


Steve Smith - Student Services Department
Milpitas Unified School District Teacher of the Year
He has devoted his entire 29-year career as a school psychologist working tirelessly for the Milpitas Unified School District. He goes the "extra mile" in offering his support to the entire MUSD community including students and their families, co-workers and administrators. Steve has spent the last seven years serving as a mentor to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year intern psychologists. He continues to mentor psychologists as they become permanent employees and has gained their respect as a leader and a friend. He is always willing to share his expertise with all MUSD staff and has proven to be a valuable asset to the District.


Maryann Necoechea - Rose Elementary
Science Specialist
Maryann, with 20 years of teaching experience, is consistent, flexible, motivating, caring, highly effective, fun, well-loved, and respected. Due to her wonderful rapport with students, Rose STAR Science test scores are among the top in the district, despite Rose being a Title I school. She continually seeks ways to further strengthen her teaching by incorporating new ideas and strategies.

Catherine Coates - Curtner Elementary
Science Specialist with 12 years of teaching experience. Ms. Coates is considered competent by her peers and daily goes the extra mile to ensure that each student receives a variety of learning modalities. She is creative, well organized, and has a gift for connecting with students who have various learning needs.

Raquel Kusunoki - Spangler Elementary
She is an outstanding teacher and instructional leader both at Spangler and at the district level. She truly believes that all students can learn and will do what it takes to make each one of her students successful. Raquel has seven years of teaching experience.


Kathleen Zamudio - Russell Middle School
A six year veteran Mathematics teacher, she is a kind, caring, and generous with her time. Early in the morning and late in the afternoons she can be found in Room 521 accompanied by many of her students continuing to search for ways to improve her practice.

Theresa Augustine - Milpitas Community Day School
Math/Science Teacher with 10 years of teaching experience, she is an outstanding classroom teacher. Ms. Augustine is effective, dynamic, creative, and has established positive relationships with students and staff alike.

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