By Rick La Plante, New Haven Director of Parent and Community Relations
Julie Panebianco, an English teacher and leader of the Puente Program at James Logan High School, has been selected as the New Haven Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year, it was announced during the Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. Joan Wolfe, secretary at Searles Elementary School, was named Classified Employee of the Year.
Under Ms. Panebianco’s leadership, Logan boasts one of the most successful programs in the Puente Project, which throughout the state offers academic preparation to improve the college-going rate of educationally disadvantaged students. She helps Puente students with college applications and essays, takes them on college tours, helps their families find ways to afford college and devotes countless hours to fundraising for the program. She also is an anchor of Logan’s literacy team.
As Searles’ secretary, Ms. Wolfe produces a daily bulletin to keep employees informed of events, messages and staff absences. Always smiling, quick with a humorous comment, she leads a collaborative effort, understanding that she is part of everything that happens at the site, as well as at the District level. She has been known to counsel parents and provide support for others, and she also is used as a resource by colleagues throughout the District.
The Board of Education also recognized Teachers of the Year and Classified Employees of the Year from each District site.
The other Teachers of the Year: Maureen Tecson (Alvarado Elementary), Paul Nay (Eastin), Nancy McDonough (Emanuele), Valerie Rose-Piver (Hillview Crest), Blake Chong (Kitayama), Colleen Conley (Pioneer), Janina Melgarejo Carman (Searles), Jennifer Nemecek (Alvarado Middle), Fernando Buchner (Cesar Chavez), Sharyl Larson (Conley-Caraballo), Kristina Burnett (New Haven Adult), Donna McCaffery (Cabello Student Support Center).
The other Classified Employees of the Year: Betty Silva (Alvarado Elementary), Suruj Lal (Eastin), Julie Busbee (Emanuele), Sally Velazquez (Hillview Crest), Rosalie Hernandez (Kitayama), Karina Aguirre (Pioneer), Tanya Leno (Alvarado Middle), Angela Moreno (Cesar Chavez), Neeru Kapoor (James Logan), Martha Utley (Conley-Caraballo), Esther Soto (New Haven Adult), Kelly Munoz (Educational Services Center), Robert Vegas (Cabello Student Support Center), Bernard Abarca (Corporation Yard), Manuela Munoz (Food Services).
Also on Tuesday night, the Board:
* Adopted a resolution in support of California’s Week of Action, May 9-13, a week of events and activities designed to call attention to the effects on public education of the ongoing state budget crisis.
* Established May 17 as the date for public hearings and “sunshine” proposals on 2012-14 collective bargaining agreements with both the New Haven Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association.