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Five Pasadena Unified School District Teachers Honored With 2024 Teachers of Excellence Award

Published on Friday, May 17, 2024 | 5:36 am

The Rotary Club of Pasadena honored five Pasadena Unified School District teachers with the 2024 Teachers of Excellence Award on Wednesday, May 15, at the Club’s weekly meeting. The recipients were recognized for their outstanding work and dedication to helping students succeed through transformative education.

The 2024 Teachers of Excellence are Kristina Andrews from Don Benito Fundamental Elementary School, Stephanie Elliott from Alexander Hamilton Elementary School, Melanie Gray from Willard Elementary School, Amanda Leja from Sierra Madre Middle School, and Robyn Wehrly from Octavia E. Butler Magnet Dual Language STEAM Middle School.

“Every day, these outstanding educators exemplify excellence,” said  Dr. Elizabeth Blanco, PUSD Interim Superintendent. “Through their work and dedication, they are helping transform education so that our students have opportunities to succeed.”

Kristina Andrews, a first-generation college graduate, began her career as a teacher’s assistant and has been teaching second grade at Don Benito Elementary for 21 years. 

Stephanie Elliott, a passionate special education teacher with over 13 years of experience, has worked with children from pre-kindergarten through middle school. She was honored with the Inspiring Teacher Award in 2015, secured grants for classroom resources, and mentored future educators.

Melanie Gray, a 5th-grade teacher at Willard Elementary School with more than 20 years of experience, is deeply committed to the International Baccalaureate program and anti-racism. She earned her teaching credential from Point Loma Nazarene University and holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Grand Canyon University.

Amanda Leja, who has worked across the United States in six different school Districts, helped develop a full inclusion program at Sierra Madre Middle School. She is determined to help all students find their full potential.

Robyn Wehrly, the first person in her family to attend college, graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in psychology and English. After working in residential care, she obtained her master’s degree in special education from George Washington University and has been inspiring the joy of learning while teaching math and science at Octavia E. Butler Magnet for the past five years.

Teachers of Excellence is a collaborative program between the Rotary Club and PUSD, which invites all schools to nominate teachers. The selection process involves entries from principals and teachers, classroom observations, and evaluations of the top ten finalists by committee members.

Each of the five honored teachers receives $1,500, with an additional $500 presented to their respective schools. The awards demonstrate the Pasadena Rotary’s commitment to public schools and exceptional teachers who deserve special recognition.

The 2024 Teachers of Excellence Awards highlight the exceptional work of educators who are making a significant impact on the lives of their students and the community.

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