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Education Digest's Teacher of the Year 2001-2002
Carmen Heimbecker

After 37 years of teaching, Carmen Heimbecker is retiring this year from Reed Elementary School in San Jose, California, but she still remembers her first day like it was yesterday. "I was so afraid I would forget the Pledge of Allegiance, that I wrote it on a 3"x5" card", reflects Carmen. "At that time, I had no idea that I would be spending the next 37 years in the classroom or that those 37 years would fly by so quickly". For Carmen, teaching became not only a career, but a way of life. Working long past 5:00 p.m. daily, a teacher is always looking for creative assignments, classroom materials at the grocery store or even on vacation. Carmen mused, "I'm sure that I'm not the only teacher who planned vacations around units we would be covering in class. I'm grateful for a husband who understood the need to put in long hours at night planning and correcting. Even he got into the act making playhouse furniture for kindergarten and cutting wood for art activities".

Teacher of Year Animation1

After the 9/11 tragedy, Carmen and her class planted a memorial garden, with red, white and blue flowers forming an American flag. On one garden was posted "September 11, 2001" and the other garden contained markers for New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. The children were both moved and excited by the project and were able to channel their energy towards a positive focus. We salute you, Mrs. Heimbecker, for your caring, loving, and creative teaching endeavors!    more

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