Humboldt County Office Honors Teachers

Eureka— Three Eureka City Schools teachers, along with five other local teachers, will be honored for their dedication to students and their profession by the Humboldt County Office of Education on Wednesday, May 9 at the Adorni Center in Eureka. The teachers are Eureka High School physical education teacher Ron Hartman and Alice Birney fifth grade teachers Warren Blinn and Sharon Tecker.

Ron Hartman will receive the 2007 Jean Olson Career Achievement Award. Hartman has been teaching for 35 years, including 33 years at EHS. He was nominated by EHS teachers Kristie Christiansen and Stephanie Jackson who wrote “it’s Hartman’s essence and his heart that sets him apart.”

“Ron continues to hold himself to high standards in teaching and seeks out opportunities for his own personal growth rather than becoming a “throw out the ball” physical education teacher,” remarked Christiansen and Jackson. “In his years of teaching and coaching, Ron has given more than was ever expected of him. Due to his dedicated in-class and extra-curricular involvement, many students and athletes maintain an ongoing relationship with him.”

Former teachers Steve and Paula Parodi noted, “Ron has always made himself available to students, going so far as to tutor them before or after school to help them stay academically eligible for their sport. He buys athletic shoes and P.E. clothes for students in need at his own expense and even takes clothes home to wash them when needed. Ron has a determined dedication to his students’ needs… academic, social, personal and enrichment.”

Humboldt Bay High School learning director and longtime EHS coach Jack Lakin stated, “when Ron is not coaching, every Logger who competed for EHS never had a bigger fan.”

Lakin also credits Hartman for making the EHS physical education program one of the top and most progressive departments on the North Coast. “As the times have changed and the P.E. curriculum evolved from intramural and recreation,” said Lakin, “Ron has been a leader in providing a vision for that change.”

Hartman has volunteered to mentor a teaching credential candidate and been involved in the undergraduate kinesiology teaching program at Humboldt State University almost every year. HSU assistant professor of kinesiology and recreation Rock Braithwaite said, “I regularly get comments about the positive experiences and support he provides in helping our future educators develop their teaching skills.”

In addition to his distinguished teaching career, Hartman has coached a variety of sports at EHS, including football, basketball, track, gymnastics, golf and wrestling, and served as an advisor to numerous campus clubs.

Alice Birney fifth grade teacher Warren Blinn is being honored with the 2007 Excellence in Teaching Award. Blinn has taught at Alice Birney for the past 18 years.

According to Alice Birney principal Jan Schmidt, Blinn regularly hears from former students on the impact he’s had on their lives. One student sent an email stating “when I was in his class he never gave up on me even though I was a slow learner. Because of his determination as a teacher, I have become so much more than anyone thought I’d be. He gave me the boost I needed to want to become better.”

Another one of Blinn’s former students wrote “I loved your class, but over the years I’ve grown to appreciate you more and more. You emphasized my strengths when others only concentrated on my weaknesses. Because of you I’m graduating high school and will be attending college in August. I don’t know what I’ll be majoring in, but I’m keeping my mind open like you did with me.”

Blinn’s knowledge of technology has been greatly valued by Alice Birney staff members. “He volunteered to implement an interactive SmartBoard in his classroom and then assisted other staff members when they came on board with the new technology,” remarked Schmidt.

Blinn regularly serves as a mentor teacher to HSU students in the credential program and last year he assisted a new Alice Birney teacher as a Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment provider.

Sharon Tecker, who also teaches fifth graders at Alice Birney School, will receive the 2007 Excellence in Teaching Award. Tecker has taught at Alice Birney for 22 years and started her teaching career over 30 years ago.

Schmidt wrote that Sharon Tecker has a legacy that has touched the lives of over 600 students. “She embodies the highest quality of a teacher,” stated Schmidt. “Her demeanor with her students is always supportive and nurturing, while she maintains her professionalism. Nothing rattles her — at least not on the outside!”

Tecker “brings enthusiasm to her teaching that is contagious to students and other staff,” said Schmidt. “She develops positive relationships with all her students which make the students want to perform for her,” added Schmidt. “There’s a saying in education “Students don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Sharon’s students know that she cares about them and many of her former students come back to visit her.”

Along with volunteering her time on the District Language Arts Committee and the Social Studies Adoption Committee, Tecker regularly serves as a mentor teacher to student teachers from HSU.

“Sharon has a really positive outlook on students, teaching, her job, her colleagues and life in general,” wrote Schmidt. “She looks at ways things can be accomplished rather than focusing on the obstacles.”