Valencia High School teacher Wendy Umekubo earns prestigious Teacher of America Award

Mrs. Wendy Umekubo is pictured with husband Mr. Leonard Takahashi at Valencia High School in 2019.Mrs. Wendy Umekubo is pictured with husband Mr. Leonard Takahashi at Valencia High School in 2019.

Longtime Valencia High School math teacher Mrs. Wendy Umekubo has received the 2022 Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teachers of America Award. 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. This year, the Foundation received over 100 nominations from throughout California. From this list of well-deserving educators, nine finalists were selected and presented to the Board for their consideration. Ultimately, only four individuals were selected for the distinction, including Mrs. Umekubo.

To be selected, Mrs. Umekubo underwent a comprehensive selection process. Following receipt of the initial nomination, the Foundation interviewed thirteen former students from the span of her teaching career and four fellow educators. All of the interviews were summarized in an extensive profile and taken into consideration by the selection committee.

Of Mrs. Umekubo, Dr. Beverly Young, Carlston Family Foundation Executive Director, shared the following: “From my conversations with your former students and your colleagues, it was quite clear that your instructional skills and techniques, as well as your personal guidance, significantly contributed to both students’ academic and personal success. Your students shared with me how you impacted their lives by giving of your personal time; sharing your passion for your subject; creating interesting and relevant lessons and activities; challenging them to always do their best work; and supporting them to meet the high standards you established in your classroom. Moreover, they appreciated your confidence in their abilities, even when they did not believe in themselves. They made it clear to me they were acutely aware and very appreciative of the large amount of extra ( and unpaid) time you spent preparing to teach them and creating interesting and relevant lessons and assignments. Because of your extra efforts and your passion for teaching, they told me they were willing to work equally as hard because they did not wish to disappoint you. They viewed your efforts and the way you treated them as a display of respect for them, because you cared about them as both students and as individuals. You treated them as adults and listened to them without judgment, earning both their trust and respect.”

Mrs. Umekubo exudes the Pride, Tradition, and Excellence that is Valencia High School’s motto. She started teaching at the campus in 1981, making 2022 her 41st year at the school. Her husband, Leonard Takahashi, also works at Valencia as the school’s community service coordinator, substitute intervention room teacher, and men’s soccer coach.

By winning this award, Mrs. Umekubo joins a list of other exceptional California high school educators and past Honorees as a member of the Carlston Family Foundation Advisory Board. This group meets at the Foundation’s Annual Symposium to address the most pressing issues in California education and to produce and present information intended to improve the quality of education. This group also advises the Board about how the Foundation might support desired educational improvements or impact legislative policies.

Mrs. Umekubo will be honored at the Carlston Family Foundation’s 20th Annual Outstanding Teachers of America Awards on Saturday, November 12, 2022, in Mill Valley, California. The Foundation was founded in 1987 by the founders of Broderbund Software, an educational software company located in San Rafael, California. Currently, its mission is to recognize and reward outstanding teachers in California public high schools, a continuation of the focus at Broderbund Software on all matters related to education.

1 Comment on "Valencia High School teacher Wendy Umekubo earns prestigious Teacher of America Award"

  1. Shane R Twamley | June 3, 2022 at 10:23 am | Reply

    What an awesome honor. I love the extensive interview process that involved former students and your impact on their lives. Congratulations Wendy!

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