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Conte Wins 2020 Teacher of the Year

Conte Wins 2020 Teacher of the Year

After many years at PRHS, Dr. Denise Conte wins 2020 Teacher of the Year for her outstanding positions as Skills USA Regional Coordinator, CTE Department Chair, and Business teacher.

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]gainst the afternoon glow, PRHS staff and teachers alike eagerly anticipated the announcement of who the 2020 Teacher of the Year was going to be. This annual ceremony marks an important moment in PRHS history. Dr. Denise Conte, after teaching for over 20 years, received the 2020 Teacher of the Year award in her last year at PRHS. Conte has gone above and beyond by taking the role as the Skills USA Regional Coordinator and CTE department chair.

“Having worked alongside you and Skills USA, I know firsthand the time, effort and dedication that you have given the students at PRHS, as well as the support for other instructors, so that we are all doing what’s best for the school,” said welding teacher Justin Pickard.

Conte began out as an Advisor for Business Pathway students and worked to assist them prepare for Speech, Entrepreneurship, and Customer Service pathways. Moreover, her duty as Regional Coordinator was to arrange and organize the annual PRHS Regional Competitions. She has organized over 100 competitions which gathers over 1000 kids to the PRHS campus.

Along with working for Skills USA, in the early 2000s, she was part of our original California Pathway Development group, and has grown to see CTE emerging so strongly in a state not known for technical training. The organization of PRHS’ pathway courses had a promising start, but a huge transformation occurred when Mrs Gaviola arrived and assisted PRHS. Additionally, getting A-G certificates and Cuesta double-enrollment. Conte is proud to have seen each member of the department work hard every year to revise curriculum and search for new and exciting opportunities for PRHS students.

“[You’ve] completely redefined in your PRHS business pathline; developing a student’s storage to one of the most successful iterations to date, and all amongst that found time to earn your doctorate. Truly remarkable accomplishments and demonstrations of your passion as a bearcat leader,” reminisced Justin Pickard.

The business pathway Dr. Denise Conte has developed to have multiple layers of relevant content to help students be successful. The formatting of the class is taught to fit to teach professionalism. It is clear that students are comfortable in the class she has developed by the immense support for the class. Students show they have a drive to learn when being in her career-oriented class.

“You have created the perfect learn-by-doing model to take students on a full circle experience, and have given so many of our students powerful tools to be successful in their careers. Thank you for all that you have done as a teacher called me and a friend. You are most deserving of this accomplishment,” beamed Justin Pickard.

The 2020 school year has proven to be one of the most challenging, unpredictable years in Paso High’s history. Online and hybrid learning presented drastic changes to virtually every student and staff member, and completely turned around the learning format. But despite all of these hardships, Dr. Denise Conte was able to make the most of the school year and the new mediums it presented.

She graduated in January with her Ph.D. in Education Leadership and intends to take that experience to build a way for autistic individuals to succeed. “So many strengths and abilities are being overlooked in this group of people, to the detriment of our society,” Conte says.  Furthermore, she says she wants to help them because they are a group of people who are often misunderstood. She wants to write academic articles and her own book explaining the strengths of these individuals instead of their “shortcomings.”

“This was an incredibly special way to finish my teaching career and I’ll cherish this memory,” concluded Dr. Denise Conte.

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