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.
They each were presented a plaque and a $1,800 check. Forty 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 multiple 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.
McCreight presented the Harden Awards. Also on hand to recognize the award recipients were Hartnell President Edward J. Valeau; Joseph Grainger, executive director of the Harden Foundation; and Murry Schekman, principal of Mount Toro Continuation School, who represented Bill Barr, Monterey County superintendent of schools.
The 2004 recipients are:
Louann Baker, North Monterey County High School, North Mountery County Unifed School District - One of California's leading experts in language arts curriculum development, she has designed four classes at her school. A teacher with 18 years of service, she also is a presenter and leader in national, state, and county writing and language arts instruction.
Annette Edwards, Rose Ferrero Elementary School, Soledad Unified School District - A fourth grade teacher, Edwards is considered one of her district's best lesson planners. Her lessons are so clear and complete that district administrations often use her plans as samples for new and veteran teachers alike.
Lisa Harrah, Soledad High School, Soledad Unified School District - As a science teacher as well as the science department chair, Harrah has worked to develop new science courses and update existing courses to better match state standards and assessments.
Anita McKean, Santa Lucia School, King City Union School District - A first grade teacher, McKean is known as one of the most knowledgeable and most effective English learner teachers in her district, in which she has taught for 26 years. She gives many hours of service to curriculum committees, especially those addressing matters related to English learners.
Wilma Ramirez, Frank Paul Elementary School, Alisal Union School District -A second grade teacher, Ramirez has helped organize and conduct Saturday field trips for students, as well as math and literacy events for her school's families. A teacher for 13 years, she keeps students during lunch and after school to provide them with Reading Recovery Instruction.
Joe Welch, Hartnell College, Salinas - A computer information systems instructor, Welch recently completed a two-year effort to update and improve all of Hartnell's CIS courses. He also involved students in developing analytical skills to expand awareness and to improve experimental abilities.