This article originally appeared in the winter 2013 Harker Quarterly.
Upper school science department chair Anita Chetty recently received an outstanding educator award from the University of Chicago. Chetty was nominated by David Grossman ’13, who is now a University of Chicago freshman. The award, which has been given for more than 30 years, recognizes inspiring teachers who have helped first-year students in their academic careers through their ability to challenge and spark change within them.
In his nomination letter, Grossman credited Chetty with helping him qualify for a top internship at NASA. Although he had to turn down the offer due to other responsibilities, he expressed much gratitude for Chetty’s strong and sincere advocacy. “Words cannot communicate how much this offer meant,” he said.
Each year, the University of Chicago receives hundreds of nomination letters from students from all 50 states as well as internationally. Chetty has been a key part of Harker science students’ success, fostering in them a love of science and research that has helped earn them excellent results in the Siemens Competition and Intel Science Talent Search for several consecutive years. She was also instrumental in kicking off Harker’s annual research symposium, which attracts respected figures from a wide variety of scientific fields and gives students the chance to present their research to industry professionals.
The most recent previous nominee for this award was upper school English teacher Alexandra Rosenboom, who was nominated in 2011.
Eric Kallbrier, a longtime member of the middle and lower school BEST programs, was recently named the upper school’s club coordinator. In this new position, he hopes to continue “working with our amazing club advisors to continue to provide a level of excellence within our valuable student organizations.” In addition to this work with BEST, Kallbrier also has worked as the director of junior staff and counselors-in-training during Harker’s summer programs. “Through these positions, I have been able to interact with students across a broad range of grade levels,” he said.
Kallbrier has grown fond of the atmosphere provided by the Harker community. “The opportunity to work closely with the advisors, officers and members of the upper school student organizations is really exciting!” he exclaimed.
Jonathan Brusco, grade 7 social studies teacher, was named the Kudos Corner winner in San Jose District One Supervisor Mike Wasserman’s November newsletter. Brusco serves on the Santa Clara County Citizen’s Advisory Commission on Elections. In a letter that was published in Wasserman’s newsletter, Brusco explained why he believes community involvement is so crucial to improving people’s lives. “The media often talks about what is going on in Washington and we often assume that the decisions made there impact our lives most directly; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth,” he wrote. “It is your local leaders who impact your life on a daily basis and as a member of a local board or commission, you can influence their decisions.”
His current position is not his first. He has held a position in the local library’s culture and arts commission. He also was elected to Gavilan College’s Board of Trustees. “While the roles and responsibilities of various boards and commissions vary, in my two years on the Elections Commission, we have dealt with countless significant issues that have benefited the voters of this county,” he said. “The newly designed and more intuitive sample ballots, policy changes regarding signature verification, and funding recommendations for voter outreach, were a result of our efforts.”