Guest post written by Lori McBride, Founders Day Co-Chair, 17th District PTA.
The 17th District PTA, which represents all of the PTAs in San Mateo County, held its Founders Day Luncheon on Tuesday, February 24, at Dominic’s at Oyster Point in South San Francisco. This year’s Founders Day celebrated the 188th anniversary of the California PTA and the 88th anniversary of the 17th District.
Arlene Kolber, a teacher in the Sequoia Union High School District for 48 years, was presented the California State PTA Outstanding Teacher Award. After two years at Ravenswood High in East Palo Alto (where Ikea now is), she transferred to Woodside High School where she’s taught Biology and served in many capacities, including as chair of the Science department and advisor to the “Girls Who Code” club. Since 1997, Arlene has also been the advisor for Team 100, the Sequoia Union High School District robotics team, and has spent thousands of hours with students in the robotics lab and at competitions. In 2014, Arlene received the Cal Games Robotics Volunteer of the Year Award. Hundreds of Team 100 alumni have been inspired to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers, and they have great respect and appreciation for the countless hours Arlene spent with them.
When asked for her advice for those considering teaching, Arlene said, “Teaching isn’t an easy profession, and it’s time consuming but so rewarding in so many ways. If you have the passion for education and teenagers, give it a try. If you look forward to getting up and going to work, then you’ve made the right choice.”
Jeanne Elliot, administrator for the San Mateo County Office of Education STEM Center, received the California State PTA Outstanding Administrator Award. Jeanne brought STEM curriculum to the San Mateo-Foster City School District and served 12 years as Principal at Bayside STEM Academy. She has an excellent rapport and advocates innovative collaboration with parents, students, and staff. She brought design thinking to the district and worked with Stanford to provide unique enrichment opportunities for students. Jeanne also won the distinguished CSBA Golden Bell Award for 2014, recognizing exemplary programs that support teaching and learning.
Emily Sarver, 17th District PTA President, was honored with the California State PTA Golden Oak Service Award, the most prestigious PTA award. Emily has two daughters and began volunteering 22 years ago, serving as PTA president at Central Elementary, Ralston Middle School, and Carlmont High School and as President of the Carlmont Academic Foundation. After serving as a Girl Scout Troop Leader for her girls, she became leader of a troop in East Palo Alto. Emily is also a strong supporter of music, and since 1996, she has led Central School kindergarteners in the Music for Minors program. She was on Music Boosters Boards while at Ralston and Carlmont, works on the annual Save the Music Festival for the Belmont/Redwood Shores School District, and with her husband, Alan, pairs high school music students and elementary students through the Music Mentor Program. She’s served on the 17th District PTA since 2007. With no Reflections Arts Chair, she also took on this role to showcase the works of our talented students.
Shamar Shanks, Principal of Capuchino High School, shared a video and spoke about the Achievement in Motion (AIM) Program. Students at Capuchino are making great academic strides, with 71% of students taking at least one IB course. Students in special education have also started taking general education courses, which has increased their math pass rates by 25% on the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).