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Wheeler of Monroe chapter honored

Monroe Unified Chapter 83 member Jean Wheeler was recently honored as Monroe’s Educator of the Year by the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce.

Wheeler, a special education assistant at Monroe Union High School, was presented the award at the chamber’s Distinguished Service Awards banquet in November.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Wheeler said of receiving the honor, adding “a lot of people are deserving of it.”

Jean Wheeler (at right) was honored by the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce as Monroe’s Educator of the Year. The chamber’s past president, Pat Straube, presented Wheeler with the award.

Wheeler was nominated for outstanding work with highest-need students along with her volunteer involvement in local schools. She is a founding member of Dragon Pride, the high school’s athletic booster club, and is its longtime secretary. Wheeler’s work in securing donations was also a factor.

“I did it to see that kids could have facilities up to par and do the things the school probably would never have the money to do,” Wheeler said. “Some kids, if they only go [to school] for reading and writing – it’s not their bag. They enjoy the sports.”

Wheeler learned she would be receiving the award via a letter from the chamber. She immediately feared the speech she would have to give, but her remarks about how the entire community can be involved in a child’s development went over well.

“I talked about what a special education assistant does … you have to be a jack of all trades,” she said. “You get to know the kids really well and sometimes you know what’s going on in their home life. Sometimes it takes the whole village to raise one child, with things happening at home, and you’re glad they can at least make it to school.”

In fact, her words inspired Rick Kissock, the chamber’s executive director, to begin filming speeches in the future.

“She really gave tremendous insight into what the special needs teachers are doing in the district and was very, very well received,” Kissock said

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