The influence of a great teacher can never be erased. Special Olympics Northern California is honoring seven teachers this season who have gone above and beyond for their students and have encouraged an environment of inclusion and acceptance throughout their respective school communities.
The selected teachers were nominated by area representatives for the fall season. Special Olympics Northern California recognizes the contributions of partnering special education, adapted physical education (APE) and other teachers for their outstanding efforts in impacting the lives of students with intellectual disabilities.
The honored teachers include:
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
Mr. Andrew Lemos
Antioch High School
Mr. Lemos is a Special Day Class teacher for grades nine through 12 at Antioch High School and has provided ample opportunities for his students both inside and outside of the classroom. He started a buddy club at the school, organized an after-school prom for students with special needs and hosted a Unified Soccer match at the school, among other initiatives. Mr. Lemos is passionate about inclusion and allowing his students to be a visible part of the school community.
“I love that he gets our students engaged with the general population,” said Laneasha Lee, an assistant for Mr. Lemos. Marilyn Evans, another assistant, added: “There is a feeling of love in the air.”
Mr. Lemos has helped to transform Antioch High School into a fun, safe and inclusive campus for all students. Thank you, Mr. Lemos!
Mr. Jody Tims
Eastside Union School District
Mr. Tims is a teacher for the Eastside Union Post-Senior Schools Partnership Program, serving students with intellectual disabilities age 18 through 21. He has made significant changes in his class schedule in order for his students to be involved with sports and encourages them to express their creativity in the classroom, on the field and within the community.
Mr. Tims has gone above and beyond to get his students involved in Special Olympics Northern California events, including encouraging one student to act as the play-by-play announcer for a tournament. Through this experience and numerous others, Mr. Tims allows his students to take pride in their work and grow as individuals. Thank you, Mr. Tims!
Ms. Cindy Lederer
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
Ms. Lederer is an elementary release time coordinator and head of elementary physical education for students in kindergarten through sixth grade for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. Ms. Lederer played an instrumental role in organizing a Special Olympics soccer event at Fairfield High School – all on her own time out of the kindness of her heart.
She attended all event meetings, got other elementary physical education teachers involved, and coordinated the music and emceed the event itself. Ms. Lederer has gone above and beyond to support students from all backgrounds within her community. Thank you, Ms. Lederer!
Ms. Telisa Kidwell (pictured) and Ms. Florence Srinivasan
Fairmeadow Elementary School
Ms. Kidwell and Ms. Srinivasan are special education teachers who have worked together at Fairmeadow Elementary School to create a Unified Sports team and encourage their students to be an active part of the school community. Through Unified Sports, students with and without intellectual disabilities are brought together to play on the same team, providing a unique opportunity for them to learn about inclusion in a fun and active environment.
Thank you, Ms. Kidwell and Ms. Srinivasan!
SAN MATEO COUNTY
Mr. Andrew Batman
Mills High School
This is Mr. Batman’s first year of teaching at Mills High School and he has already made a big impact in partnering with Special Olympics Northern California at the school. Mr. Batman has been involved with Special Olympics since he was in high school himself, and his experience was a major factor in him becoming a special education teacher. Mr. Batman hosted a Special Olympics soccer event at Mills High School and was passionate about including the entire school in the fun – including as athletes, referees, skills volunteers, greeting committee members, team liaisons and more.
“The entire campus was all smiles,” said a fellow teacher.
Thanks to Mr. Batman, Mills High School is planning to host two more Special Olympics events at the school before the end of the year. Thank you, Mr. Batman!
Mr. Marc Crivello
Montgomery High School
Mr. Crivello is a special education student aide at Montgomery High School and has spearheaded the creation of the school’s first Unified Basketball game in early February. He is also working with Santa Rosa High School for future Unified Basketball competitions and encourages inclusion and unity throughout the campus. Thank you, Mr. Crivello!
Mr. Leif Bostrom
Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District
Mr. Bostrom is a Special Day Class teacher for grades six through eight in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District and serves the greater area as a part of the Tri-Valley Schools Partnership Program, which includes districts in Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin. Mr. Bostrom has been a part of the Special Olympics Northern California Schools Partnership Program since the beginning and is an avid supporter of Unified Sports, specifically in cross country.
Thank you, Mr. Bostrom, for making a positive impact in schools throughout the Tri-Valley!