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Kings Player Bonzi Wells Visits County Teachers of the Year

Athlete Signs Autographs, Shares Stories with Local Students

Bonzi Wells and Tom Funk shake hands

Students at John Barrett Middle School in the San Juan Unified School District and Toby Johnson Middle School in the Elk Grove Unified School District welcomed a special guest to their campuses on May 22: Bonzi Wells of the Sacramento Kings.

While Wells was a surprise visitor, the real guests of honor were Allison Stiles, an art teacher at John Barrett Middle School, and Tom Funk, a humanities teacher at Toby Johnson Middle School. Both Mr. Funk and Ms. Stiles are among 16 teachers who were recognized as Teachers of the Year 2006 for their respective school districts. The two were also chosen as Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2006.

At each event, the Kings' standout guard posed for pictures with students and teachers, signed autographs, and answered questions.

Wells attended college at Ball State in Indiana, but he told students that his favorite teacher taught him in the ninth grade. "Miss Kay Rankin, from my freshman year in high school, who motivated me to do my best," Wells said. He also advised students about the importance of staying in school: "Your education is something no one can ever take away from you."

He also told students how he appreciated his own teachers and the other adults who served as role models when he was young, and he advised them, "Let your teachers know they're doing a good job."

Joining Wells in saluting the Teachers of the Year were district and county school leaders, as well as the schools' principals and staff.

Wells' visits to both schools was made possible by the Sacramento Kings in partnership with NECA-IBEW. For more than a dozen years, Maloof Sports and Entertainment has been a primary sponsor of the Sacrament County Teachers of the Year program. The Sacramento County Teachers of the Year program is coordinated by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) under the direction of Superintendent David W. Gordon.

School districts throughout the county are eligible to participate in the annual Teachers of the Year program. Educators chosen to represent their districts as Teachers of the Year 2007 will be honored at a countywide recognition dinner presented by SCOE on Wednesday, September 6, 2006. At the dinner, the names of two local educators chosen to represent the entire county in the 2007 California Teachers of the Year program will be announced.

For information about the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year program, call (916) 228-2664.

Bonzi Wells and Tom Funk shake hands
Bonzi Wells with students