Celebrating Our Spring Teachers of the Season

A terrific teacher’s impact can last a lifetime. Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada is honoring nine teachers this season who have gone above and beyond for their students and have encouraged an environment of inclusion and acceptance throughout their respective school communities.

The selected teachers were nominated by Schools Partnership Program coordinators for the spring season. Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada recognizes the contributions of partnering special education, adapted physical education (APE) and other teachers and administrators for their outstanding efforts in impacting the lives of students with intellectual disabilities.

The honored teachers include:

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

Ms. Patty Sherve

Del Amigo High School

Ms. Sherve is a Special Education Teacher at Del Amigo High School in Danville and has been teaching for more than 30 years.

Since joining Del Amigo at the beginning of the school year, Ms. Sherve has been highly involved in the Special Olympics Schools Partnership Program and participated in all three sports seasons. A longtime supporter of Special Olympics, she also organized a fundraiser to help pay for her students’ transportation to the track and field event. Ms. Sherve believes in the power of inclusion and takes it to heart that her students enjoy the programs and get to interact with classmates.

“She’s a hard worker, a tough woman, and a superhero,” said one of her students.

Thank you, Ms. Sherve!

FRESNO COUNTY

Ms. Theresa Bollier

Central Unified School District

Ms. Bollier is an APE Teacher within the Central Unified School District (CUSD) in Fresno County and has been a supporter of Special Olympics for more than 10 years.

Ms. Bollier and her staff organized the first Young Athletes Program (YAP) day in the CUSD with great success and is a part of every competition through the Schools Partnership Program in her area. She plays a large role in getting her students involved with Unified Sports, recently putting together a Unified Volleyball competition, and serves as the main liaison between SONC and CUSD.

Students in Ms. Bollier’s classes have experienced a new wave of inclusion and the impact of Unified Sports has shifted the campus culture, creating a positive social and learning environment.

Thank you, Ms. Bollier!

MISSION VALLEY

Mr. Lee Webb

James Logan High School

Mr. Webb is an APE Teacher at James Logan High School in Union City and previously served as the school’s track and field coach, earning two California Interscholastic Federation state team titles during his tenure.

Mr. Webb has played an integral role in working with Special Olympics to offer Unified Sports at James Logan High School and within the Mission Valley Special Education Local Plan Area (MVSELPA). He organizes Unified relay races and hosts practice every day for his students, giving them the full team-sport experience at the high school level. He has brought in Olympic track and field medalists to speak (and race) with his students and is considered a “phenomenal track coach, mentor, and teacher” by his peers.

This was Mr. Webb’s last season as an APE Teacher at James Logan High School.

“My biggest enjoyment from coaching and teaching has come from Special Olympics,” he said. “One of my favorite students and athletes ever was Zach, who was not supposed to live past a year. He’s now 27 – and a blessing to so many people! We have learned so much from Zach and all of the Special Olympics athletes. I just want to thank Special Olympics and all those who are part of such a great program.”

MONTEREY COUNTY

Ms. Kimberly Kellam

Walter Colton Middle School

Ms. Kellam is a Leadership Teacher at Walter Colton Middle School, which recently earned the status of Special Olympics Unified Champion School thanks to her hard work and dedication to inclusion.

Ms. Kellam’s class has volunteered at track and field and soccer events, respectively, for the past two years and she has helped with equipment and extra logistics. Last year, she brought a second middle school class to be “Fans in the Stands” at a soccer event, encouraging inclusion and interaction between peers of all abilities. Ms. Kellam and her class organized a successful R-Word Campaign and her students have truly joined in on her enthusiasm for students in special education programs.

“Being involved with Special Olympics is extremely humbling and important to myself and my students,” she said. “We look forward to volunteering at events because we get to see the athletes smile, laugh and enjoy every part of their day.”

Thank you, Ms. Kellam!

SAN MATEO COUNTY

Mr. Steven Hinojosa

San Mateo County

Mr. Hinojosa is an APE Teacher in San Mateo County who has made a major impact in bringing the Special Olympics Schools Partnership Program to his area.

Mr. Hinojosa recently worked with Special Olympics to host two events in less than three weeks and made himself available throughout the entire process. He was key in selecting and modifying the event activities and ensuring that all of the necessary equipment was on site and set up for his students. He has gone above and beyond to create the best experience possible for the athletes at these events and is committed to the success of Special Olympics programs in schools.

Thank you, Mr. Hinojosa!

SANTA ROSA

Ms. Lauren Fryer

Windsor High School

Ms. Fryer is an APE Teacher for Windsor Unified School District who has made a big difference in her first year as a teacher.

Ms. Fryer helped to coordinate a Unified Track & Field competition at Windsor High School, the first time that a school in Windsor has hosted a Schools Partnership Program competition. She has worked hard to develop a community of inclusion and respect on all of the campuses that she serves and is eager to help organize more events with Special Olympics and encourage more involvement within the community.

Thank you, Ms. Fryer!

TRI-VALLEY

Ms. Kristen Shellhammer

Dublin Unified School District

Ms. Shellhammer has been a Special Day Class (SDC) Teacher for the Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) for five years and has been an advocate for student success throughout her career as an educator.

Ms. Shellhammer has participated in the Special Olympics Schools Partnership Program for more than four years and continues to provide opportunities for students of all abilities. She and her classes have attended every Special Olympics schools event in the Tri-Valley during that time and she has played a large role in organizing Unified Sports including track and field, soccer and basketball.

“Ms. Shellhammer is an exceptional teacher who is deserving of a great deal of recognition thanks to her work with students and her care in ensuring that all students can succeed if given the opportunity,” a coordinator described.

Thank you, Ms. Shellhammer!

NORTHERN NEVADA

Ms. Pam Barber

Sonoma Heights Elementary School

Ms. Barber is a Special Education Teacher who has been very involved in the Special Olympics community sports program and recently introduced the Schools Partnership Program to her district.

Ms. Barber organized and executed a Young Athletes Program (YAP) day for 200 pre-kindergarten students in her district and is proud to bring a culture of inclusion to the students and their families. She does this on top of her normal duties as a teacher along with being a coach, and athletic director in Special Olympics community sports and a very busy life as a mother of six.

Thank you, Ms. Barber

SOUTHERN NEVADA

Clark County School District Adapted Physical Education Staff

We are honoring the group of dedicated individuals that make up the Clark County School District (CCSD) Adapted Physical Education (APE) staff. They recently worked together to put on a great Unified Track and Field meet, featuring nearly 1,000 students, and continue to be strong supporters of Special Olympics and Unified Sports in schools.

Honored staff members include: Adam Erwin, Adam Hutchins, Adam Lesko, Al Johnson, Amanda Zunno, Amy Naches, Andrew Meteer, Barbara Chambers, Ben Johnson, Billy Eddins, Carrie O’Dea, Catherine Lusher, Chelsea Swaim, Chuck Candito, Cindy Alvarez, Cindy White, Cristy Wilson, Crystal Rodriguez, Deanna M, Dolores Campuzano, Eddie Romero, Elke Rogge, Gina Schultz, Hayden Ross, Heather Orr-Ellis, Jason Elmore, Jason Graydan, Jerrad Clancy, Jesse Swain, Jessica Tarantino, Joe Shifflett, Juan Parra, Kari Brough, Kate Moffatt, Ken Houston, Kih Gourrier, Leinell Lasike, Leslie Wright, Mark Richards, Mary Ford, Mary Scales, Myra DiBetta, Michelle Elliot, Mike English, Patrick Resler, Rachel Bucciarreli, Rob Peck, Scott DeMarce, Shannon Houston, Sondra Gomez, Steve Vermillion, Teresa Colarusso, Terry Pryer, Tim Bush, Tim Koerner, Tracey Herstam, Tracey McFadden, Tyler Thurston, Wendy Halford, Yelena Campbell.

Learn more about the Schools Partnership Program here.

https://www.sonc.org/programs/schools-partnership-program