Education celebrated |

Education celebrated

Making a difference in education was the focus of the evening on May 31 when The Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation presented “A Celebration of Education.”

More than 170 people gathered to honor retiring teachers, support staff and board members; future teachers; teachers who have produced quality education projects; teachers who are candidates for national certification; and friends of education.

Casey Blann, vice president of the foundation, was master of ceremonies at the 12th annual event, which took place at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Special Events Center.

The six retiring teachers, whose combined years of teaching is 130, were introduced by current educators in the community who talked about their backgrounds and experience. Honored for their dedication to their students were Anita Vieites, 1960-2001, South Tahoe High School; Tish Sorokwasz, 1968-2001, South Tahoe High School; Carol Ward, 1971-2001, Al Tahoe Elementary School; Mary Ann Werley, 1990-2001, South Tahoe High School ; Carol Macomber, 1991-2001, Al Tahoe Elementary School; and Penelope Lynne, 1996-2001, South Tahoe Middle School.

Three support staff also were recognized for their service to Lake Tahoe Unified School District. They included Kathleen Correia, 1975-2001, Bijou Community School cafeteria manager; John Oakland, 1975-2001, Lake Tahoe Unified School District mobile cleaning crew; and Kathleen Petrusa, 1974-2000, LTUSD office.

Since its inception in 1971, The Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation has recognized 29 South Tahoe High School graduates with fellowships. The four Graduate Fellowship recipients for 2001 are Melissa Berry, 1986; Kellee Koeppen, 1989; Jennifer Kortes, 1995; and Amber Merritt, 1996. Each received $1,000. They have completed their undergraduate degrees and are in a student-teaching program for certification. These future teachers are all graduates of South Tahoe High School, which is one of the requirements to receive a fellowship. They are looking forward to beginning their careers.

A visual presentation prepared by Peg Kortes highlighted the 2000-2001 Quality Education Project Grants. Recipients of the grants are Robin Hall of Sierra House Elementary School, $345 for “Kindergarten Intervention;” Chris Slaback of Al Tahoe Elementary, $1,056 for “School Home-Links Program;” Cindy Pribyl of Al Tahoe Elementary, $1,965 for “Read Naturally;” and Kathleen Whatford, Judy Schwartz, Nancy Muller and Cathy Caple of Tahoe Valley Elementary, $400 for “Using Curious Creatures to Reach Reluctant Readers.”

Jeff Tillman, general manager of South Tahoe Refuse and Recycling, Inc., accepted the 2001 Friends of Education award on behalf of the refuse company. This award is presented in recognition of continuing support and contributions to education and the foundation.

Also recognized for their service to the Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation were retiring board members Dr. Greg Bergner, Kevin Cole, Ron Bush and Linda Thompson.

The seven teachers who were recognized as candidates for the National Certification Program and received $500 each are Susan Earnest, Meyers Elementary; Susan McAllister, Bijou Community; Mary Palin, South Tahoe Middle School; Deby Wright, Bijou Community; Christina Grubbs, Sierra House Elementary; Janae Nead, South Tahoe Middle School; and Vivian Rider, Bijou Community.

This is a voluntary credential awarded to teachers who complete a rigorous process of demonstrating their subject knowledge and classroom skills through teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes and detailed analysis operations. Certification candidates also must complete written testing, evaluating their depth of knowledge in the subjects they teach and their understanding of how to best communicate that to the students.

The mission of the Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation is:

“To make a difference in education in our community by generating and providing substantial financial support for the enhancement of instructional programs and educational opportunities, and to foster and to encourage innovative educational experiences for students and teachers of the Lake Tahoe Unified School District.”

Membership in the Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation is non-participatory and everyone in the community is welcome to become a member. For more information on the foundation contact Del Laine, foundation president, at (530) 544-6249 or e-mail

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