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October 16, 2001

For More Information, Contact:
Jamille Moens at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO –  Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that he will be participating in “Teach for America Week,” an annual nationwide event in which prominent Americans teach a class in one of 16 regional sites.

Simitian will be teaching a class of third-graders on Thursday, October 18, from 11-1, at Willow Oaks Elementary School in the Ravenswood City School District in Menlo Park.  The public school serves students in grades K-8.

“I’m looking forward to talking with students and teachers at Willow Oaks,” said Simitian.  “When I was on the school board, I had more opportunity to spend time in the classroom.  I miss it.  Since I’ve been in the Assembly, I haven’t had the chance to be back in the classroom as much as I’d like.”

Simitian is a former school board member, past-President of a County School Boards Association, and public schools attorney who represented school districts around the State.  He currently serves as the Chair of Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.

“Meeting with students is one of the most satisfying parts of my job,” Simitian noted.  “I’m eager to hear what’s on their minds.  And I think a first-hand understanding of the experience in our classrooms is essential to good decision-making by the Legislature.”

Teach for America is a national corps of recent college graduates who commit to two years of teaching in urban and rural public schools in the nation’s lowest-income communities.  In the Bay Area, 140 Teach for America corps members teach thousands of students in grades K-12 in the Oakland Unified School District, Ravenswood City School District, Alum Rock Union Elementary School District, and East Side Union High School District.

Across the country, celebrity participants who are expected to participate in “Teach for America Week” include former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, ABC World News Tonight Anchor Peter Jennings, film star Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Angela’s Ashes” Pulitzer-Prize winning author Frank McCourt, and film director Mike Nichols.

“I’m sure these kids would rather have had Arnold Schwarzenegger as their guest teacher,” Simitian joked.  “I’ll just have to tell them I was second prize.”

* Note to Assignment Editor: Photographers are welcome.



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