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Hartnell College Presents Teaching Excellence Awards

May 10th, 2006

Seven of the Salinas Valley's best educators - who teach elementary school through college-level classes - were recognized at Hartnell College recently and received the Ercia Harden Teaching Excellence Awards.

Presented at the same time as the Harden Awards was the Hartnell College Gleason Faculty Award, which was established by the late Roy and Phyllis Gleason of King City to recognize teaching excellence. This year's recipient was Yvonne Reid, Hartnell adaptive physical education instructor. She has presented numerous workshops on health-related issues, and her commitment to community service is outstanding, according to her dean, Dyan Miller. Reid received a plaque and a $2,000 check.

The 2006 recipients of the Harden Award are:
Ernel Felix, science teacher at La Paz Middle School, Salinas Unified High School District. He teaches in the GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) program and excels in curriculum development, according to his principal, Steve Oliver.

Linda Fonville, family and consumer science teacher at El Sausal Middle School, Salinas Union High School District. The Harden winner with the most years of teaching experience - 34 years - she received a standing ovation from the administrators and teachers attending the event, many of whom had her as a teacher themselves.

Harold Handy, world history and geography teacher at Soledad High School, Soledad Unified School District. He was a pioneer in the establishment of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program resulting in Soledad High being recognized as an AVID state demonstration school.

Angela Hesse, English, language arts and math teacher at Pinnacles High School, Soledad Unified School District. In the short two years Hesse has been at Pinnacles, she is credited with playing a major role in the school's 2004-05 high student test scores -which had the largest growth of any school in Monterey County - according to Pinnacles High Principal Linda Coyne.

Debby Norman, kindergarten teacher at Santa Lucia School, King City School District. Bob Bilek, her principal, says she has faithfully served the King City district for 27 years in "a positive and caring manner."

Lisa Storm, administration of justice instructor, Hartnell College. She developed the curriculum to make the administration of justice program accessible online.

Pat Weaver, first grade teacher at Spreckels School, Spreckels Union School District. She runs a "Community of Caring" classroom where each student has a voice, and the students respect the rights of others.


Harden Award winners were presented a plaque and a $1,800 check. The award was established in 1989 by the Harden Foundation, which is committed to assisting charitable causes in the Salinas Valley. The award is named for the wife of Eugene Harden, who was one of the individuals who put the Salinas Valley on the map as an agricultural center. The Hardens died in he mid-1980s.

The Harden awards - administered by Hartnell's Center for Teacher Education and the Hartnell College Foundation - recognize teachers on the basis of several criteria, including assistance to students, curriculum development, excellence in instruction, and commitment to activities outside of the classroom, according to Denise Cook, director of Hartnell's Center for Teacher Education

On hand to recognize the Harden and Gleason award recipients were Denise Cook; Kathleen Rose, Hartnell's dean of fine arts; Joseph Grainger, executive director of the Harden Foundation; and William Barr, Monterey County superintendent of schools. More than 275 educations and their friends and families attended the event which had an Oscar Night theme complete with a red carpet.

Each of the 39 Harden Award nominees received a plaque and a $150 check. One of the nominees was Holly Newton, 50, a sixth grade teacher at Rose Ferrero Elementary School, Soledad Unified School District, who died recently after a long battle with cancer. Her husband, Andy Newton, longtime Hartnell planetarium director and instructor, accepted the award; it will be placed in the Holly Newton Memorial Scholarship Fund for Future Teachers at Hartnell.

For more information on the awards ceremony, call Denise Cook at (831) 755-6796.