Area educators up for arts award

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Jackson Bell

In two years as chairman of the music department at Toll Middle

School, Stan Hatanaka has nearly tripled participation in the music

program while forming a marching band and establishing honor classes.

Hatanaka’s achievements have not gone unnoticed by Toll Principal

Jan Holman, who nominated him for the 22nd annual Bravo Awards, which

recognize outstanding arts educators countywide.

Hatanaka and Kathy Kottaras, an English teacher at John Burroughs

High School, are among 10 finalists for two awards that will be

handed out Tuesday night at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los


Hatanaka is a finalist for the arts teacher award, while Kottaras

is up for the general classroom award. The winners will receive

$4,000 each.

“My nomination means that [the school] is doing something right,

something that the kids are proud of and we are proud of,” Hatanaka

said. “I consider it a team effort.”

Holman said she nominated Hatanaka for the award -- sponsored by

the Los Angeles Music Center -- because the membership in the

school’s music program has jumped from about 85 to more than 200

students since he came on board.

“We have a waiting list [now], where before there were not enough

children participating in the program,” she said.

Kottaras, who has taught at Burroughs for three years, helped

reinstate the school’s literary magazine -- Mantra -- and started

coffeehouse-style poetry readings for her students.

“People call it the Academy Awards of teaching, so I’m very

excited,” Kottaras said this week.

“I’m very surprised and honored to be selected as a finalist. I

wasn’t expecting this at all.”