Pasadena Rotary to Honor 5 PUSD Teachers

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First published in the May 5 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.

Five Pasadena Unified School District teachers will be honored on Wednesday, May 4, during the Rotary Club of Pasadena’s 32nd annual Teachers of Excellence Awards ceremony.
The educators were screened by a selection committee composed of Rotarians, previous award recipients and a former PUSD teacher and administrator. The nomination packages included three essays from each nominee and three essays from their respective principals. Top finalists were first chosen and interviewed by the committee via Zoom, in lieu of the in-class evaluations that are typically conducted.
The five winners who will be honored are Erik Delgadillo from Sierra Madre Middle School, Anqi Deng from Field Elementary, Amethyst Juknavorian from Don Benito Fundamental, Ana Negrete from Alexander Hamilton Elementary and Bharatchandra Parekh from John Muir Early College Magnet.
Congresswoman Judy Chu and PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald will be joining the program as special guests. The event’s co-chairs are Lisa Cavelier and Sandy Goodenough.
The Rotary Club’s annual Teachers of Excellence Award Program fosters, encourages and recognizes excellence in teaching and dedication to public education at PUSD. Each Teacher of Excellence is awarded $1,500, with an additional $500 being awarded to their schools. Funding is provided by the Pasadena Rotary Foundation. The awardees additionally receive recognition from city and state officials.
The program started in 1990, a product of hard work and dedication on the part of Pasadena Rotary’s members Joe Lonergan, Al Lowe and Christle Balvin, among others. Their inspiration came from Jaime Escalante, the former East Los Angeles high school teacher who believed inner-city students could master subjects as demanding as calculus.
The May 4 meeting is open to the public with a reservation required; lunch charge is $40 per person.