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May 7, 2002

For More Information, Contact:
Kristina Loquist at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that Esther Wojcicki received special honors from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.  Simitian nominated Wojcicki, an English and journalism teacher at Palo Alto High School, for the prestigious award, which is given annually in connection with the Day of the Teacher (May 8 this year).

“I was delighted to nominate Esther for recognition from the State,” said Simitian.  “Esther is a world-class teacher who has had a powerful impact on generations of students.  We can always use more folks like Esther in our classrooms.”

Wojcicki began teaching at Palo Alto High School as a substitute teacher in 1979.  She later became a full-time teacher at the school and developed an award-winning broadcast, magazine, and newspaper journalism program.  She also earned certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and currently works with the National Writing Project to establish new models for the teaching of English.  She has been selected as a Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation and as Teacher of the Year by the Journalism Education Association of California in recent years.

“The award was such a wonderful surprise,” said Wojcicki, who did not know that Simitian had nominated her.  “Teaching is one of my passions, and I’m honored to be recognized by Assemblyman Simitian and by the State for my work.”

Wojcicki and Simitian participated in a “Day of the Teacher Celebration” hosted in Sacramento by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing on May 2.  Wojcicki was one of only three teachers in the State selected as an honoree.

Simitian knows Palo Alto High School well, having graduated from the school in 1970 and later serving on the Palo Alto school board for eight years.  “Who knows?  If Esther had been at Paly when I was in school, I might have become an reporter or novelist instead of an Assemblyman!” joked Simitian.



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