2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Joseph Manluco

2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Joseph Manluco

Mr. Manluco’s interest in teaching took root with his passion for practicing and studying martial arts from a young age and throughout high school. Inspirational coaches and instructors invested time into fostering strong programs that kept youth growing up in his hometown of Vallejo focused on developing personal integrity and self-discipline while working towards tangible goals as student-athletes. He has brought with him this sense of determination to cultivate students’ drive toward their own achievements as a former Upward Bound high school outreach advisor at UC Davis, former Teach for America corps member, and now as a science and US government teacher and wrestling coach serving students in east San Jose. 

Mr. Manluco has invested much of his personal time to improving his craft as a science teacher by pursuing professional development with the Integrated Middle School Science partnership sponsored by CSU East Bay, Ignited (formerly Industry Initiatives in Science and Math Education) fellowships sponsored by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and now as a lead science teacher for Piedmont Middle School at Berryessa USD. As a night class adult education instructor, he brings the unique perspectives of being a former legislative intern and UC Berkeley NROTC midshipman to teach US government in the context of global politics. During the wrestling season, he has staffed coaching positions for middle and high schools in East San Jose, while producing championship caliber wrestlers at both levels. Outside of the school year, he and his wife Mandy, also an educator, immerse themselves in new international adventures so they can share a more authentically global experience with their students. 

Mr. Manluco would pledge his $20,000 award to support Piedmont’s technology, science, and athletics programs, which are of great need in a Title I school that has a high population of English learners and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. A major priority, would be to support the school’s goal of having a 1-to-1 computer ratio. Secondly, the funds would be invested into additional science and technology elements, such as 3D printers, for the school’s in-progress Flexible Instructional Space (FIS), a digital learning lab designed to provide dynamic 21st century learning experiences for cross-curricular subjects. Finally, funds would be used to acquire more modern athletic equipment for the PE fitness room used by Piedmont wrestlers along with the other school sports teams.

2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Cindy Gershen

2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Cindy Gershen

Chef and teacher Cindy Gershen, founder of Walnut Creek’s Sunrise Bistro restaurant and the Wellness City Challenge non-profit, created a remarkable Sustainable Hospitality Program at Concord’s Mt. Diablo High School. Focused on the science of food through culinary arts, gardening, and nutrition, the program is now an integral part of district’s curriculum and an Innovation Center for programs that can be replicated.

Cindy prepares young people for employment as professionals in the healthy food service industry. Students are taught to prepare nutritious meals that are served to other students including campus sports teams and faculty members. The curriculum incorporates the “do no harm” revolution taking place in the Hospitality industry promoting standards of business good for the environment, workers, and consumers. Another part of the curriculum is the “state of the art” growing technique utilizing vertical tower gardens in classroom and outdoor environments.

Cindy’s senior class focuses on Career Technical Education (CTE) through topics such as farm-totable and farm-to-cafeteria with hands-on experience on the process of planting, growing, and harvesting produce and entrepreneurship through catering. Her students also promote health and wellness through a district wide “Water Drinking Campaign”.

She continues to expand youth education programs with a recently started culinary, growing and nutrition program for 4th graders.

In her new role as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for Mount Diablo Unified School District, Cindy is launching Educatering to support the healthy food needs of the cafeteria, administrative staff, and local community through student driven recipes and products by providing non-packaged, nonprocessed healthy food. Her goal is “Teachers in the best condition to teach, and students in the best condition to learn.”

Cindy’s programs are remarkably effective in creating social change. They merge theories and principles with hands-on professional level activities. And her programs take a prevention approach to the epidemics of obesity and diabetes occurring in our schools. She continually reminds students that they should “Eat well to be well out in the world.” 

Her non-profit, Wellness City Challenge, hosts the Annual Contra Costa County Mayors’ Healthy Cook-off. Students from her programs team up with local officials as “sous chefs.” Local leaders become advocates on building healthy communities through the education system. Also through Wellness City Challenge, an after-school program supports at-risk youth by covering topics such as nutrition and culinary education, personal empowerment and entrepreneurship. 

Several state and local groups have given Cindy awards for her health and wellness advocacy including the California Assembly District 14 “Woman of the Year” award. Cindy is also co-author of the The Fat Chance Cookbook (Hudson Street Press January 2014) with Robert H. Lustig, MD, a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH Program at UCSF), and author of the bestselling book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease.

2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Dale Waldo

2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Dale Waldo

Mr. Waldo began teaching in 2001 after spending 23 years in private industry in Sales and Technology Management positions with several multi-national companies. In 2001 he started as an Intern teacher at Folsom Cordova Unified School District at Mitchell Middle School teaching technology to middle school students. He got his teaching credential from Project Pipeline the same year. Mr. Waldo has taught 6th, 7th and 8th graders throughout his entire teaching career. He currently teaches 6 – 8th grade Project Lead The Way classes and is trained in ten of the GTT units. Mr. Waldo has coached Track and also is the MineCraft Club and Engineering Club Advisor at his current middle school, Folsom Middle School.

Mr. Waldo believes strongly in the importance of student engagement and hands learning environment. Mr. Waldo is constantly adapting and refining curricula that will engage all students and give them a Life Long Learning experience.  Examples of Mr. Waldo’s commitment to student learning is his constant drive to get materials to make his student’s learning environment better such as power tools donated by Harbor Freight and soliciting enough funds to acquire eight 3D printers. His students are able to learn Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing in middle school which is ahead of the usual timeframe. 

Mr. Waldo in his first year at FMS converted an old classroom into a fully functioning Fabrication room with multiple woodworking tools (Subtractive Manufacturing). The next year he began to acquire 3D printers and created an Additive Manufacturing environment for his students.

Mr. Waldo has spent his entire sixteen years teaching in the Folsom Cordova USD after his twenty-three years in industry. He is often heard saying to students “BEST Day Ever!” 

Mr Waldo has a Business Administration Degree from CSU Chico and has been a PLTW teacher for twelve of his sixteen years of teaching. He spent several years as a Master Teacher for PLTW training new teachers to PLTW at colleges and Universities throughout the U.S. during the summer months.

In 2014 Mr. Waldo received the PLTW California Middle School Teacher of the Year Award.

Mr.Waldo has been married to his lovely wife, Diana, for thirty years and has two awesome children Tyler and Jennifer “JJ”. Tyler graduated from CSU Chico with a Degree in Business Information Systems and JJ is pursuing a Doctorate Degree in STEM Cell Research.

If he is fortunate enough to win the All Star teacher award, Mr. Waldo plans to use the $20,000 to complete the Folsom Middle School Makers Lab where all teachers can engage their students in Hands On Learning.

Mr. Waldo truly makes everyday “The Best Day Ever” for his students!