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Eukel Teacher Trust to award three teachers $10,000 each

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 at 6:26 pm in Education.

The Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust will award three teachers — from Lafayette, Richmond and San Ramon — $10,000 each on Thursday at its 20th Anniversary Gala Awards dinner.

The event takes place at 6 p.m. at the Diablo Country Club, 1700 Club House Road in Diablo. The cost is $150 per person (of which $70 is a tax-deductible contribution) or $1,500 for a table of 10.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 925/945-0200 or visit www.eukelteachertrust.org.

Here are more details from a news release I received today:

“This year, Jesse Hansen of San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, Brian Mangold of Stanley Middle School in Lafayette and Victoria Tukeva of Richmond High School in Richmond will each receive a cash award of $10,000.

Brian Mangold of Stanley Middle School, a special education teacher, works with students with a wide range of special needs and disabilities. All of his students have cognitive deficits and language deficiencies that often make it difficult for them to master skills that may come easily to others. Some are autistic. Others are wheelchair-bound. He devises individualized approaches to help his students find intrinsic motivation that empowers them to excel. He has been a strong advocate for them, creating a culture of respect for special needs students at Stanley Middle School and throughout the district.

‘The community has a great deal to gain by my students’ contributions as well. Just my students’ attendance and participation at community events sets a standard that everyone is welcome. By simply having an opportunity to interact with my students, people begin to appreciate my students as individuals and cast away their judgments, prejudice, stereotypes, and most importantly, their preconceived notions of what my students can and can’t do.’

History teacher Jesse Hansen of San Ramon Valley High School brings history alive for his students. Using humor and a gift for story-telling, Mr. Hansen engages his classes in the drama and sweep of history and shares his deep love of the subject. His lively teaching style connects with students at all levels.

‘I consider attendance at school to be the temporary careers of my students. Despite what is going on at home, I intend to create a scaffold for students to learn how to be disciplined, professional, and lifelong learners so they will be ready to take full advantage of every opportunity life offers them when they leave high school.’

“In a sense, motivating young people is easy: all of us hunger to understand the world in which we live. The trick is to have 60 minutes worth of fantastically interesting and relevant material for every 55-minute class period. The hard part is building this body of work and maintaining the humility to acknowledge failures and the intelligence to correct them.’

Victoria Tukeva of Richmond High School has taught dance and physical education at RHS for nearly 30 years. She puts on four dance shows per year, in which over 200 students participate, most of whom have never danced before. She uses dance as a vehicle to promote physical fitness, confidence and self-discipline, to encourage self-expression and teamwork, to enhance the students’ cultural literacy and to unify a diverse student body. She also employs dance to teach about the interrelationships between art and history and to explore social issues. She is also the cheerleading coach at Richmond High.

‘I want my students to realize the importance of balancing and integrating their mental, emotional, and physical development so that they can fulfill their potential and realize the astounding things they are capable of doing and creating.’

The Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust is a community-based non-profit organization, formed in 1991 to honor the memory of a Walnut Creek resident who worked for more than three decades to help teachers positively influence students. The mission of the Eukel Teacher Trust is to foster excellence in education by providing monetary grants to exceptional teachers in Contra Costa County. Each year, teachers who have shown extraordinary commitment to their students are nominated by teaching colleagues, principals, parents, students and others.  Volunteers select the award winners from among the nominees. The Eukel Teacher Trust receives its financial support from Bay Area businesses and individuals. Since its inception, it has made cash awards totaling $452,000 to 55 Contra Costa County teachers.

CBS 5 news anchor Ann Notarangelo will serve as master of ceremonies for the Eukel Teacher Trust’s Awards Dinner. Renowned food and wine expert Narsai David, KCBS-Radio Food and Wine Editor, will collaborate with seven premier restaurants, Artisan Bistro, Diablo Country Club, Élevé, Prima Ristorante, Sasa, Yankee Pier and the Contra Costa College Culinary Arts Program, each of which will contribute a course to the dinner. The Awards Dinner will take place at the Diablo Country Club and is open to the public. A silent auction will be held in conjunction with the dinner.”

I spoke to Mangold today and hope to interview Hansen and Tukeva soon for a story to run Thursday in the Times.

What characteristics do you think make a teacher “outstanding”?

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