The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 20th annual Excellence in Education Awards will take place Thursday, Dec. 8 at The Fairmont in San Jose. The awards will be given out at the SJSV Chamber’s annual signature event, Legends & Leaders, and will have keynote speaker Pulitzer-Prize winner and associate editor of the Washington Post Bob Woodward.
The 2016 Excellence in Education Awards recipients are:
- Alejandra Bonilla, San José High School, San José Unified School District—Student of the Year
- Michele Goetowski, Village School, Campbell Union School District—Teacher of the Year
- Matthew Hewitson, Lincoln High School, San José Unified School District—Principal of the Year
Bonilla is a 12th grader at San Jose High School. In August, Alejandra was one of 27 students nationwide chosen to participate at a weeklong internship in orchestra at Boston University. This past summer, Alejandra participated in the R2L Next Gen Institute, sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
Goetowski, a teacher for 14 years, works to find solutions to roadblocks and worked to ensure her students participated in the PC Pals program, where students are paired with Intel employees/retirees during the school year. She invited Google engineers to come into the classroom and share emerging technologies such as Google Cardboard for a virtual reality experience and every year, her class participates in the Family Giving Tree program.
Hewitson, an educator at the San José Unified School District for 17 years, pursued and won a $100,000 grant to design and implement the Summer@State program, partnered with NextFlex’s Workforce Development, Education and Training and reclassified two student restrooms as All-Gender in support of Lincoln’s continued commitment to inclusion for all students.
“Our award recipients this year, like so many before them, embody the true meaning of community legends and leaders,” SJSV Chamber President & CEO Matt Mahood said. “These are the faces of our region’s future, and their impact will be felt wherever they go. We are proud to shed a little light on their efforts and recognize them before the business community.”
The Excellence in Education awards first began in 1996 and recognize students, teachers and administrators within the County of Santa Clara that embody the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s spirit of acting as a convener, collaborator and champion within their community.
Along with public recognition, the SJSV Chamber also offers recipients educational grants. Over the course of the program’s history, these grants have totaled more than $100,000.