Seven of the Salinas Valley's best teachers - who teach kindergarten through college - were recognized recently at Hartnell College by receiving the Ercia Harden Teaching Excellence Awards.
They each received a plaque and a $1,800 check.
Thirty-seven teachers had been nominated for the award, which was established in 1989 by the Harden Foundation. 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 the mid-1980s.
The Harden awards-administered by 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 Cicely McCreight, executive director of the foundation.
The 2003 recipients are:
Kathleen Fitz-Slattery, Salinas Adult School-A teacher for 15 years, Fitz-Slattery teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. She and her students have been involved with several out-of-the-classroom projects, including the preservation of agricultural land/jobs and affordable housing issues.
Lois Flint, Central Bay Continuation High School, Salinas-With 24 years of experience as a teacher, Flint recently designed and implemented a school-wide math program that is taught daily by all teachers to all students.
Lauren Keenan, Rose Ferrero Elementary School, Soledad-A teacher for 32 years, Keenan has always reached outside of her classroom to help children the world over. Last year the first grade teacher organized the collection of instructional materials and financial donations for children in Afghanistan.
David Miller, La Joya School, Salinas-A teacher for seven years, Miller has been instrumental in analyzing the state math standards, and developing benchmark assessments for his fourth grade students to be used to determine their academic progress.
Art Salvagno, Vista Verde Middle School, Greenfield-An eighth grade science teacher, Salvagno has been in front of a classroom for 40 years. He has written curriculum that enables students to enlarge their frame of reference, and gives them the opportunity to make decisions beyond their immediate environment.
Lawrence Yee, Hartnell College, Salinas-A chemistry instructor for six years, Yee has incorporated computer technology into chemistry lab experiments, enabling students to better compete for jobs and transfer to four-year colleges and universities.