Julie Panebianco, an English teacher and leader of the at , will be honored by the Alameda County Office of Education later this year for her selection as the New Haven Unified School District's Teacher of the Year last month.
Panebianco will join 19 other district winners from throughout the county at an award ceremony on Oct. 6, 2011 at the San Leandro High School Arts Education Center.
There officials will crown the Alameda County Teacher of the Year from among the district winners.
“In celebration of all of our annual award recipients, I would like to express my gratitude to faculty and staff who remain strong despite the adversity surrounding our profession. You embody the super-powers that awaken and inspire the curiosity and initiative of our future heroes” Sheila Jordan, Superintendent of Alameda County Schools, said in a June 7 statement.
This year’s county-wide theme of choosing Teacher of the Year was “Celebrating Real Life Heroes” — honoring those teachers who are best helping to change the world through guiding and educating students.
“I’m completely humbled, honored and shocked,” Panebianco said after receiving her reward at the May 4 school board meeting. “I wasn’t expecting this at all. I know I work hard, but everyone works hard.”
Panebianco, a teacher for seven years, said she started her professional career in the business sector. But after spending her free time volunteering with homeless youth, she found a passion for teaching and returned to school to earn a credential. “It was the best decision I ever made,” she said.
Now Panebianco leads one of the most successful programs in the Puente Project, a statewide program that offers academic and college preparation for educationally disadvantaged students.
Not only does Panebianco help her students with their college applications, she takes them on college tours and helps their families find ways to make college affordable.
She also devotes her efforts to fundraising for the program and is an integral part of Logan's literacy team.
“Teaching is not for sissies, teaching is for heroes,” NHUSD Superintendent Kari McVeigh said at the meeting to all of the district's individual school winners. “Thanks for being our heroes.”