On Tuesday, February 7, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) Board of Education honored longtime Valencia High School teacher, Wendy Umekubo, with the You Are The Advantage Award. This award recognizes community members, organizations, and employees who embody the district’s four core values of excellence, collaboration, integrity, and innovation. It is the district’s top honor.
Remarkably, Wendy was selected for the Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teachers of America Award in 2022. This award is presented annually to exceptional California public high school teachers, nominated only by former students, who believe their former teachers had a life-changing and positive impact on them.
Wendy started teaching at Valencia in 1981, making this school year her 42nd year at the school. She student taught in the classroom that she is in now, room 1102 at Valencia. This was after she received her bachelor’s degree and secondary teaching credential in Mathematics from Cal State Fullerton. She also has her masters in theoretical mathematics and math education from CSUF.
For the Tigers, Wendy insists on teaching everything from basic arithmetic for English learners to Advanced Placement Calculus and International Baccalaureate Math. She epitomizes the Tiger family and is a staple on the campus. She even proclaims that she and the school are inseparable. It is no secret that Wendy wants success for her math students, but beyond that, she wants all students who come to Valencia to learn, work hard, succeed, have fun, and enjoy a multitude of high school experiences as a part of Valencia’s diverse population and rich history.
“She is intentional about making meaningful connections with her students, which allows them to absorb the content she teaches through engaged and practical strategies,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews shared. “She believes that making connections in this way creates a tighter woven community among students, staff, and community members alike.”
Her husband, Leonard Takahashi, also works at Valencia as the school’s community service coordinator, substitute intervention room teacher, and men’s soccer coach. He and other members of Wendy’s family as well as members of Valencia’s administration and staff were there to support her that evening.
“We are confident that all would agree—including her students that nominated her for the Carlson Family Foundation Outstanding Teachers of America Award—that Mrs. Umekubo embodies Valencia’s motto of Pride, Tradition, and Excellence,” Dr. Matthews continued. “We certainly agree on how much Wendy means to our entire school district community and Valencia High School, but for now, we will conclude with this note: It is clear that she epitomizes the district’s four core values with an enduring commitment to excellence, collaboration, integrity, and innovation.”
After Wendy received her award, Carlston Family Foundation Executive Director Beverly Young also shared about Wendy’s tremendous talents as an educator. Wendy then took a moment to speak about her time as a teacher and the profound impact the profession has had on her life.
The Board of Education and district rea proud to have presented Mrs. Wendy Umekubo with the You Are the Advantage Award! Congratulations!