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Septet of teachers is the tops for 2003

Molly Shore

Seven middle and high school educators were recognized this week by

Burbank Unified School District as Teachers of the Year for 2003-04,

including Burbank High School instructor Alyson Edge, the district’s


site teacher of the year and district teacher of the year.

The teachers, who were voted on by their peers, were honored at

Thursday’s school board meeting. They were selected in June.

Edge, a Burbank native and graduate of Bellarmine-Jefferson High


School, teaches accounting, word processing and computer

applications. She is also director of the school’s Academy of

Finance, a nationally affiliated two-year high school business


“I really think I have the most fun in the classroom working and

talking with the kids and watching if they understand,” Edge said.

“By the time they take their tests, it should be a positive outcome

of the previous teaching.”


Other Teacher of the Year honorees included Nick Wilhelm (Jordan

Middle School); Josephine Tidalgo (Luther Burbank Middle School);

Elayne Howitt (Burbank Adult School); John Peebles (John Burroughs

High School); Barbara Forletta (Monterey High School); and Lynn

Rothacher (John Muir Middle School).

“I’ve had students come back to tell me that I influenced them in

choosing science careers,” said Wilhelm, 58, who has taught science

for 17 years


Tidalgo, 28, said her greatest challenge and greatest joy as an

eighth-grade history teacher is making the subject real for her


“I like to see the students take the concepts that they learn and

use them in their everyday life,” she said.

With the help of Howitt, special education students in the

Foothill Area Community Transition Services Program at the adult

school are ready to step into clerical and sales jobs after they


“When they’re done with the program in four years, they’re

prepared with a resume,” she said.

Despite his quiet demeanor, Peebles, a math teacher and

cross-country coach, wasn’t overlooked.

“Daily interaction with students is the best part of teaching,” he

said. “I try to make it fun in class.”

Forletta, 60, is a 15-year veteran of the district who has been at

Monterey for the past 12 years as a resource specialist working with

at-risk students.

“Monterey is a smaller campus with a staff that has to work

together as one unit,” she said. “I like working with them because I

feel we’re all doing it for a common cause.”

Rothacher, a drama teacher, did not attend Thursday’s board

meeting because of her latest production -- a 7-pound, 15-ounce boy

born at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.