Linda Brown Fellows Award 2009-10

Recognize those who help local students reach for the stars!

The Linda Brown Fellows Awards recognize TTUSD teachers who...
go above and beyond in fulfilling their potential as an educator and show exceptional merit or talent, provide truly outstanding academic programs, are extraordinarily innovative, and creative.

2009 - 2010 Linda Brown Fellows Award Recipients

Linda Brown Fellows

Photo left to right: Bert Alcarez-Ochoa, Nestor Valdivia, Patty Cardoza, Shauna Gilberti, Abbie Stewart, Reina Markheim, Dana Hurt, Debbi Spohr
The following recipient bios are put together with material from the nominations received.
Shauna Gilberti, North Tahoe Middle School  
Shauna Gilberti is described as an educator that truly makes a difference. A parent wrote that she knows how to move students to the edge of their comfort zone, but supports them so they excel.
Ms. Gilberti has worked hard to obtain grants for instruments and scholarships which in turn increase the number of students who are able to benefit from her popular music program. She has a passion for the subject and it is apparent in her teaching. This past year she took NTMS’s jazz band to a regional competition in Vallejo and they proceeded to win first place! 
While band class starts at 6:30am, a student summed it up best by saying, “I wouldn’t trade the lost sleep for getting to do what I love with a teacher who never fails to inspire!”
Abbie Stewart , Kings Beach Elementary
Nominations for Abbie Stewart stated, “It is refreshing to have a teacher who embraces each child and knows where the focus is needed for that child to strive…a teacher who inspires a community within her classroom and throughout the school…a teacher who has assisted to form a bridge between two cultures and among parents and teachers.”
Ms. Stewart takes every opportunity in and out of class to teach kids about recycling, art, music, science, respect and responsibility. One parent wrote that she constantly incorporates the values of the environment and taking ownership of what one does into the classroom.
Her site principal remarked, “she absolutely ranks amongst the best teachers I have seen in almost 30 years! She truly works miracles!”
Reina Markheim, Glenshire Elementary
Reina Markheim is said to be a role model for thinking outside the box. She is described as a mentor and a cheerleader and someone who daily emphasizes the positive. Ms. Markheim engages students with her expansive knowledge of our local history and has them explore the shores of Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River, Boca and Hobart Mills. 
One parent wrote about the notes she sends home with students, or to their parents, reinforcing the positive – thanking them for respecting others or doing well in class. She is said to be one of those elementary teachers who stands out in our lives forever – just ask her about the wedding she was invited to by her two former kindergarten students!
Dana Hurt, Kings Beach Elementary
Dana Hurt uses every opportunity in and out of her classroom for teaching, always balancing work and play. It is said that she has an uncanny ability to see amazing qualities in each student, which enables her to bring out the best in her class. One parent observed that she makes every child feel like they are “the teacher’s favorite.” This in turn gives the students self-confidence which translates into doing well in class. As a matter of fact, Ms. Hurt had the highest test scores in the district for both EL’s and native Spanish speakers! 
She is active in the community and serves on the AYSO board of directors. Ms. Hurt often identifies students in her class that she thinks would benefit from an organized sport and  helps register them in hopes to expand their learning experience in our community.
Debbi Spohr, District Counselor
Debbi Spohr has impacted many students in our school district. Her expertise in crisis work and drug and alcohol use make her the “go to” person for information or referrals in these areas. One peer wrote, “Her caring demeanor is given not between the hours of 8am – 3pm, but 24/7.” 
Ms. Spohr started the district clothing bank so no student goes without clothes, a coat or warm shoes. She has been known to take her students to doctor appointments, therapy sessions and leads groups with them in the summer so they are never without services.
One time, she stayed up all night at the hospital with a student who was going through a very traumatic experience. It was written that, “this sort of action is the norm, not the exception for Debbi Spohr.”


2009-10 Fellows

  • Abbie Stewart, Kings Beach Elementary
  • Dana Hurt, Kings Beach Elementary
  • Reina Markheim, Glenshire Elementary
  • Shauna Gilberti, North Tahoe Middle School
  • Debra Spohr, District Counselor

2009-10 Stars

  • Nestor Valdivia, Alder Creek Middle School
  • Patty Cardoza, Truckee High School
  • Sue Salas, Special Education District Administrator
  • Humberto Alcarez-Ochoa, North Tahoe High School