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Hartnell College Presents Teaching Excellence Awards

May 4th, 2007

Nine of the area’s best educators were selected to be this year’s Ercia Harden Teaching Excellence Award Winners at a ceremony at Hartnell College Friday night.

All teachers in elementary school through college are eligible to be nominated for this award, now in its 19th year.

The 2007 recipients of the Harden Award are:
    Leslie Starr, a special education teacher for kindergarten through fifth grade in a special day class at the New Republic School in the Santa Rita District.

    Josefina Silva, a bilingual kindergarten teacher at Cesar E. Elementary in the Greenfield Union School District.

    Charles Felice, a construction technology and mill cabinet teacher at Mission Trails Regional Occupational Program in the Salinas Union High School District for eleventh and twelfth grades.

    Heather Wirht, a teacher in a combined fifth and sixth grade class at Gabilan Elementary in the Soledad Unified School District.

    Deborah Downum-Perez, a teacher for third grade at Frank Ledesma School in the Soledad Unified School District.

    Micaela Rangel, an English language arts and development teacher for seventh and eighth grades at Main Street Middle School in Soledad Unified School District.

    Roger O’Sullivan, a U.S.government teacher for twelfth grade at North Monterey County High School in the NMC Unified School District.

    Vicki Barone, a seventh grade English teacher at La Paz Middle School in the Salinas Union High School District.

    Janet Pessagno, an English instructor at Hartnell College


The Harden awards were established in 1989 by the Harden Foundation, which advances charitable causes in the Salinas Valley. The award is named for the wife of Eugene Harden, an early agricultural leader of the Salinas Valley. The Hardens died in the mid-1980s. All of this year’s 39 nominees received a plaque and a monetary award for their accomplishments.

The awards are administered by Hartnell's Center for Teacher Education and the Hartnell College Foundation to recognize teachers on the basis of excellence in instruction, assistance to students, curriculum development, and commitment to activities outside of the classroom.