Teachers - The Building Blocks of Education

by Stephanie McCall '05

Nearly 400 teachers, students, families, and friends attended the third annual Teachers are Heroes award presentation to recognize the six monthly recipients from 2004. Held at LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, the event included entertainment and education in fire safety by acrobatic firefighters. Azusa Pacific University’s San Diego Regional Center, Jefferson Pilot Communications, and San Diego National Bank collaboratively sponsored the event.

“It makes you feel how much kids care and are proud of you when you see them out here smiling and waving,” said Sheila Weiner, recipient of the Teachers are Heroes award in April. “You never know you make a difference until something like this happens.”

Parents and students describe Weiner as a very personal teacher who listens to her students. “She’s real fun and cares for us in everything she does,” said Jennifer Taylor, a student in Weiner’s sixth grade class.

Richard Thome, assistant superintendent of the San Diego County Office of Education, addressed the significance of teachers. “When you think about what you know, next to parents, teachers are so critical. Without teachers we would all be walking around trying to find our way.”

Alice V. Watkins, Ph.D., special assistant for university programs at APU, encouraged teachers to continue “enriching the minds, souls, and hearts of tomorrow’s leaders.”

According to Jack Rankin, Ph.D., chief of staff for APU, nearly 1,000 teachers were credentialed by APU last year, the third largest number in California private schools. After having a middle school teacher for a hero, Rankin decided to go into education and recently retired after 41 years. “This award is a great effort to acknowledge teachers and allow APU to extend into the greater community.”

The teachers honored at the ceremony included Kathi Ford, Mary Fay Pendelton School; Kathleen Clarkson, Sevick School; Steve Griffith, Flora Vista Elementary School; Sheila Weiner, De Portola Middle School; Alma Garro de Knox, Kimball School; and Mike Hanlon, Mt. Helix Academy.

Many thanks were given to teachers by all the sponsors throughout the program including Melissa Sharpe, KiFM; Garett Michaels, FM 949; Alice V. Watkins; Kristy Gregg, San Diego National Bank; Deana Porterfield, APU's vice president for enrollment management; Jack Rankin; Richard Thome; and Darrel Goodin, Jefferson Pilot Communications.