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Pasadena Rotary Club to Honor Five Pasadena Unified Teachers With Excellence Awards and Grants

Published on Monday, May 13, 2024 | 4:00 am

The Rotary Club of Pasadena will honor five Pasadena Unified School District teachers at its 34th Annual Teachers of Excellence Award Ceremony on Wednesday, May 15.

The ceremony will be held at the University Club of Pasadena, at 175 N. Oakland Ave. and is open to the public.

The educators, nominated by their principals and selected by a committee of Rotarians and a Pasadena Educational Foundation Board member, will each receive $1,500, with an additional $500 awarded to their schools.

The five teachers are Kristina Andrews from Don Benito Fundamental School, Stephanie Elliott from Hamilton Elementary School, Amanda Leja from Sierra Madre Middle School, Melanie Gray from Willard Elementary School, and Robyn Wehrly from Octavia E. Butler Magnet School.

The selection process included three essays from each principal and three from the teacher, as well as classroom observations and evaluations of the top ten finalists by committee members.

High-ranking PUSD staff and representatives from local elected officials’ offices will join the Rotary Club of Pasadena meeting as special guests.

The Rotary Club’s annual Teachers of Excellence Award Program, which started in 1990, aims to foster, encourage, and recognize excellence in teaching and dedication to public education at Pasadena Unified School District. The program was a product of hard work and dedication on the part of Rotary members Joe Lonergan, Al Lowe, and Christie Blavin, among others. Their inspiration came from Jamie Escalante, the former East Los Angeles high school teacher who believed inner-city students could master demanding subjects like calculus.

Escalante, who taught mathematics and physics in Bolivia for 12 years before immigrating to the U.S., was the subject of the 1988 film Stand and Deliver, in which he is portrayed by Edward James Olmos.

Funding for the awards is provided by the Pasadena Rotary Foundation, and awardees also receive certificates of appreciation from local elected officials.

For 2024, Rotarians Janine Hamner Holman and Phyllis Mueller are co-chairs of the Teachers of Excellence event.

Reservations are required by 4 p.m. Monday, May 13. Lunch is available for $40 per person. To RSVP, email or call (626) 683-8243.

Join the Awards online, starting at 12:45 to 1:30 p.m. on Zoom:

Meeting ID: 865 1510 1523

Passcode: 667356

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