Dorothy Wright Teaching Awards

The Dorothy Wright Outstanding Teaching Awards were established in 1987 as a memorial to a former member of the Department of English who distinguished herself for her commitment to teacher education. Professor Wright taught at San Jose State for 30 years before retiring in 1987.

What gives the award its unique character is that its recipients are nominated by former students. To identify worthy candidates, the English Department circulates questionnaires in its freshman composition courses, asking students to identify those teachers who best prepared them for their college writing courses (see questionnaire below). Hundreds of the questionnaires are collected and tabulated; then the award recipients are honored in a campus ceremony--usually in early May--attended by the English Department faculty, students, and other members of the university community.

The English Department at San Jose University considers it a privilege to sponsor the Dorothy Wright Awards, not only because many of its recipients are former graduates of its program, but because the program allows it to make the acquaintance of many of the most inspiring members of the area's educational community. The success of the English Department's own program rests upon the dedication and idealism of the area's English teachers. The Dorothy Wright Awards, therefore, honor not only the recipients but all teachers engaged in our common enterprise.

To nominate your teacher, please fill out the  Student Questionnaire.



Vincent Parker, San Benito High School

Mr. Parker helped me understand my voice as a writer and helped me notice things I lacked in my writing. -- Kevin Borch


Rosella Guttadauro, Adrian C. Wilcox High School

Mrs. Guttadauro helped prepare me for English at SJSU by teaching me the mental and physical skills necessary in order to achieve success in an academic setting. -- Arthur Hoang


Marie Milner, Andrew P. Hill High School

[She helped me learn how to] critically analyze literature and format papers of literary analysis. -- Angelique Paradela


Russell Marcel, Bellarmine College Prepatory

His essays forced the students to focus on creating an extremely compelling argument.

-- Christopher Rositano


Diana Nguyen, Branham High School

She gave me the kind of discipline that I use even today. -- Tracie Tanner


Monique Machado, Cupertino High School

She taught me how to structure my essays and how to properly cite quotes and resources. -- Jessy Chang


Kelley McMillan, Evergreen Valley High School

She definitely helped me become independent. She taught us teamwork and structural group work. She taught us punctuality is key. -- Tam Pham


Patricia Budd, Christopher High School

            Her lessons helped me improve my writing and reading cognition. -- Megan Nebesnick


Peggy Stover, Independence High School

She was optimistic and had an uplifting personality, and was willing to help students improve on their writing skills by pointing out what the mistakes are, not just correcting them for us. -- Sandy Lee

She was very dedicated in terms of helping us shape our writing skills and find our "voice" and "style" in our writing. -- Marie Claire Pamintuan


Julie Andrade, Independence High School

She's an awesome teacher that taught me everything. I mean everything. -- Julie Tran





Christy Hallford, Irvington High School

The amount of work I received in her classroom was equivalent to what I am getting in my English 1B class today. -- Roxana Chavez Jauregui

She is an excellent teacher who helps students further their English skills through proper analysis of themes and text in novels, and is always able to clearly answer questions regarding the reading and writing prompts. -- Thomas Bass


Mark Rodocker, Irvington High School

I personally was not a confident writer until I had Mr. Rodocker as a teacher.

-- Garrick Chan

Mr. Rodocker sharpened my analysis skills and helped me to improve my writing. He had students write freestyle journals, which [developed my] style and voice as a writer.

-- Vivian Ho


Nicole Mangiardi, Irvington High School

            She interacted with the students and helped us build our critical thinking skills.                                -- Edgardo Cuellar-Franco


Teresa Heger, James Lick High School

            I enjoyed all the projects she made us do especially how she made us talk in front of the class so often. -- Adilene Rogers


Keith Stapleton, Junipero Serra High School

Mr. Stapleton helped prepare me for my future classes—not only English classes, including English 1A and 1B, but also history classes, science classes, and my Intro to Engineering class, as these classes required formal writing. -- Patrick Barrera


Beth Nakamura, Leigh High School

She [motivated me] to learn to write. She would also give extra time to students out of class to help them improve in weak areas of writing. -- Jazmine Ramirez


Joseph Nakamura, Leigh High School

            Mr. Nakamura prepared me for English at SJSU by helping me work on my grammar, sentence structure and making sure I perfected my essays. -- Saskia Newman


Rich Ajlouny, Leland High School

He taught his students, and myself, not only how to write on a higher level, but also how to read between the lines and analyze novels. -- Ryan Zaeni

This teacher went above and beyond what he was expected to teach. -- Pooja Sheth


Josh Miller, Lynbrook High School

Mr. Miller had a great way with making the readings seem relevant to modern day. He also introduced in-class essays to me which helped me learn that the best way to get my ideas out is to just start writing. -- Tim Wallis

John Ribovich, Milpitas High School

He taught me how to write more concisely and got me interested in reading more novels that would not only expand my vocabulary, but showcase multiple styles of writing.

-- Justin Parayno

He encouraged all of his students in a way that let us grow in terms of essay writing and test taking. -- Nancy Tran


Brian Rath, Mission San Jose High School

To this day, I still use Mr. Rath's outlining process, essay techniques, and analysis on my English work. He helped me throughout high school and now at SJSU. -- Mariam Haider


Karen Cocovich, Mt. Pleasant High School

She made me think critically and understand what it was that I was writing.

-- Stephania Rubi


Debra Court, Nevada Union High School

She gave us a lot of essays to help us practice skills and helped us throughout the entire senior year process of letters and applications. -- Lindsay Knell

She wanted to see us succeed and helped us prepare for college through teaching us essentials and mentally preparing us for what is to come. -- Heather Smith


Keith Chung, Oak Grove High School

He made English more of a fun subject, rather than a chore. -- Tim Tran


Andrea Ocamb-Winters, Piedmont Hills High School

She especially prepared me for the workload that I faced once I got into a college level English course. -- Christine Nguyen


Tricia Bolster, Piedmont Hills High School

Ms. Bolster taught me how to write essays that were not only well structured, but also captivating. -- Jessica Randev


Kathleen Quint, Pioneer High School

She pointed out the good things in my writing and helped me to rid bad habits, while also teaching me that literature was not only to be learned, but to be enjoyed. -- Vanessa Silva


Tara Komar, Presentation High School

She helped me improve my writing and helped me become a better English student.                      -- Alicia Swartz


Barbara Murray, San Andreas Continuation High School

            I want to be a teacher like Ms. Barbara Murray. -- Alyssa Coulter


Carrielynn Haedtler, Santa Clara High School

Ms. Haedtler was very strict about MLA formatting and making sure our points would connect to the thesis. It stuck through my mind and I make sure whenever I re-vise to make my points always connect back to my thesis. -- Angela Ibarrola


Anna Thomas, Santa Teresa High School

We had a research paper that we had to do and it prepared me for my English class at SJSU. -- Lisa Nguyen

She made my transition into college English courses much smoother.

-- Rachel Christensen


Laurie Weckesser, Silver Creek High School

She had us free write for a few minutes each class period, where we wrote about anything we wanted, so our minds could open and explore. -- Baotran Nguyen


Todd Seal, Silver Creek High School

He cared about his students and always had office hours for whenever we needed help. I think that's the best thing a teacher has ever done. Providing extra help to students who need it. -- Barbara Nguyen


Elizabeth Purcell, St. Ignatius College Preparatory

Ms. Purcell prepared me in so many different ways for English class at SJSU.

-- Caitlin Boyd


Bond Cashmere, Tracy High School

She prepared me for English at SJSU by teaching the fundamentals and main necessities of being a college level writer. -- Kate Aso

Ms. Cashmere helped prepare me for English at SJSU by treating [me like a] real college student. -- Betty Cheng


Matthew Daugherty, University Preparatory Academy

I have always loved writing, but after being in his class, I fell in love with literature.

-- Khaira Mohmand


Ashleigh Tighe, Westmont High School

Not only did Ms. Tighe develop my technical skills, but she also inspired me to love literature and to enjoy the English language to its fullest. -- Katie Norby


Chris Haskett, Westmont High School

            [Mr. Haskett helped me prepare for my English classes at SJSU] in every possible way-- he inspired my deep love of literature and vastly improved my composition, analysis and close reading skills.  -- Kate Reed



Sarah Miller, Willow Glen High School

[She is a successful teacher because of] the way she explains her assignments and the way she puts them together. -- Tuyet Vu


Scott Patterson, Willow Glen High School

It is because of his lofty expectations that I can write lengthy papers in college.

-- Brooke Blankenship

He really helped [me prepare] for college essays, and improved my writing skills. 

-- LisaMarie Mejia


Leslie Conrotto, Yerba Buena High School

            Ms. Conrotto helped me in all the ways possible. She prepared me as a writer and a critical reader, when I did not enjoy reading. -- Yazmin Fierro


Sarah Guthrie, Ann Sobrato High School

Poetry was never my best subject, but she also did a very good job helping the class understand, interpret, and analyze poetry and other forms of Shakespeare's work.

-- Elizabeth Esquivel

Ms. Guthrie's focus on nonfiction and actually useful literary analysis of documents prepared me for the greater focus on nonfiction work in the English classes at SJSU.

-- John Dubil


Maia Goodman, Fremont High School

She taught me how to write papers at a college level. -- Tania Galicia

[She prepared me for my English classes at SJSU by] the activities, essays, lectures, assignments, grading style, and [her] office hours. -- Anna Yang


Cora Keeney, Pajaro Valley High School

She really challenged you to write academic essays about global issues today.

-- Isabel Corrales



See what students wrote about these winning teachers [docx] )

  • Jane Albano, Alisal High School
  • Martin Brandt, Independence High School
  • William Brown, Piedmont Hills High School
  • Paula Chenoweth, Milpitas High School
  • Lisa Clausnitzer, Homestead High School
  • Karen Cocovich, Mount Pleasant High School
  • Jeff Colburn, Milpitas High School
  • James Daniel, Aragon High School
  • Rick Dirck, Silver Creek High School
  • Luranne Drager, Abraham Lincoln High School
  • Micael Duarte, Del Mar High School
  • Leilani Esguerra, Independence High School
  • Andy Evans, Westmont High School
  • Teresa Filice, Cupertino High School
  • Christy Halford, Irvington High School
  • Adrienne Harber, Cupertino High School
  • Chris Haskett, Westmont High School
  • Robin Jankowski, Leland High School
  • Serena Johnson, American High School
  • Dave Kenigsburg, Santa Teresa High School
  • Joe Lovato, Mount Pleasant High School
  • Audrey Makris,  Leland High School
  • Susan Maloney, Mount Eden High School
  • Lynn Marozeck, Milpitas High School
  • Sarah Miller, Willow Glen High School
  • Andrea Ocamb-Winters, Piedmont Hills High School
  • Allison Parker, Andrew P. Hill High School
  • Vincent Parker, San Benito High School
  • Scott Patterson, Willow Glen High School
  • Laurie Pizzuti, Oak Grove High School
  • Steven Puccinelli, Fremont High School
  • James Ratti, Homestead High School
  • Shawnee Rivera, Homestead High School
  • Diana Rowland, Esparto High School
  • Katrina Silva, John H. Pitman High School
  • Carrie Targhetta, El Camino High School
  • Sandra Trotch, University Preparatory Academy
  • Patrick Venaelde, Adrian C. Wilcox High School
  • Jane Voss, Silver Creek High School
  • Keith Webb, Washington High School
  • Craig Whitt, Archbishop Mitty High School

2012 Dorothy Wright Award Winners

  • Gemma Abels, Live Oak High School
  • Richard Ajlouny, Leland High School
  • Clarissa Alcott, Newark Memorial High School
  • Mike Andres, Willow Glen High School
  • Robert Ansaldo, Santa Clara High School
  • Joni Beebe, Independence High School
  • William Blair, Mountain View High School
  • Samuel Bliss, Bellarmine College Prep
  • Lillian Bogovich, Milpitas High School
  • Marek Breiger, Irvington High School
  • William Brown, Piedmont Hills High School
  • Rachelle Burnside Branham High School
  • Joseph Calabrese, Del Mar High School
  • Alanna Callaway, Henry Gunderson
  • Don Carroll, St. Francis High School
  • Bo Cheli, Evergreen High School
  • Leslie Conrotto, Yerba Buena High School
  • Rick Dirck, Silver Creek High School
  • Michael Duarte, Del Mar
  • Dina Dwyer, Fremont High School
  • Ashley Earp, Valley Christian High School
  • Andy Evans, Westmont High School
  • Andrea Floyd, Leland High School
  • Lisa Fulton, Foothill High School
  • Amy Gibson, Fremont High School
  • Christy Gutierrez, Santa Clara High School
  • Paula Hasser, Live Oak High School
  • Jason Ingebrigtsen, St. Lawrence Academy
  • Paul Kick, Oak Grove High School
  • Jeremy Lum, Bellarmine College Prep
  • Noel McCargar, Wilcox High School
  • Lyndsey McKenzie, Pioneer High School
  • Frank Medina, Prospect High School
  • Deborah Newlen, Waldorf School of the Peninsula
  • Andrea Ocamb-Winters, Piedmont Hills High School
  • Joan Owen, Wilcox High School
  • Erin Pagtakhan, Foothill High School
  • Ana Parra, Andrew P. Hill High School
  • Laurie Pizzuti, Oak Grove High School
  • Debra Robinson, Mount Pleasant High School
  • Kaila Schwartz, Milpitas High School
  • Peggy Stover, Independence High School
  • Patrick Vernaelde, Wilcox High School
  • Jane Voss, Silver Creek High School
  • Clare Wadbrook, Notre Dame High School SJ
  • Jennifer Wei, Aragon High School
  • Mike White, Leigh High School
  • Craig Whitt, Archbishop Mitty High School
  • Karen Winchester, Independence High School
  • Steve Wong, Los Gatos High School
  • Joyce Wong, Mission San Jose High School


2008 Dorothy Wright Award Winners

  • Mike Andres, Willow Glen High School
  • Valerie Arbizu, Evergreen Valley High School
  • Patricia Biemford, Granada High School
  • Monique Childs, Piedmont Hills High School
  • Nancy Freschi, Branham High School
  • Nancy Galindo, Yerba Buena High School
  • Harriet Garcia Rousseau, Independence High School
  • Wendy Garner, Amador Valley High School
  • Paula Haaser, Live Oak High School
  • Josh Hancock, Westmont High School
  • John Herrera, Independence High School
  • Chris Haskett, Westmont High School
  • Kevin Lydon, Mission San Jose High School
  • John Manning, Prospect High School
  • William Maples, San Jose High Academy
  • Tina Mayer, Campolindo High School
  • Marie Milner, Andrew Hill High School
  • Dawn Nelson, Branham High School
  • Margaret Ota, Gilroy High School
  • Patty Raun-linde, Fremont High School
  • Michelle Ritter, Pioneer High School
  • Nancy Schwalen, Santa Teresa High School
  • Ralph Stark, Junipero Serra High School
  • Marilyn Sullivan, Terra Nova High School
  • Craig Whitt, Archbishop Mitty High School
  • Liz Williams, Homestead High School
  • Michael Winsatt, Andrew Hill High School
  • Kelly Wong, Monta Vista High School
  • Stephanie Wurst, James Lick High School
  • Gary Zellner, Silver Creek High School


2007 Dorothy Wright Award Winners

  • Craig Whitt--Archbishop Mitty High School
  • Katie Martin--American High School
  • Dan Toft--American High School
  • Maria Clinton--Branham High School
  • Nancy Freschi--Branham High School
  • Stacy McCown--Everett Alvarez High School
  • Valerie Arbizu--Evergreen Valley (EVHS)
  • Mr. Canavese--Fremont High School
  • Marty Brandt--Independence High School
  • Karen Winchester--Independence High School
  • Harriet Garcia--Independence High School
  • Ken Nguyen--Leland High School
  • Richard Ajlouny--Leland High School
  • Rob Warren--Leigh High School
  • Michelle Dwyer--Moreau Catholic High School
  • Kathy Conradson--Milpitas High School
  • JefferyLynn Davis--Mt. Pleasant High School
  • Paula Haaser--Live Oak High School
  • Paul Kick--Oak Grove High School
  • Maggie Dellamano--Presentation High School
  • Joanne Walsh--Pioneer High School
  • Monique Childs--Piedmont Hills High School
  • Don Yellum--Santa Teresa High School
  • Judith Mohr--Santa Teresa High School
  • Jennifer Cole--Santa Clara High School
  • Elizabeth Purcell--St. Ignatius College Prep.
  • Sandy Trotch--Saint Lawrence Academy
  • Gary Zellner--Silver Creek High School
  • Todd Seal--Silver Creek High School
  • Josh Hancock--Westmont High School
  • Joan Owen--Wilcox High School
  • Marianne Hew--Wilcox High School
  • Andrew Evans--Westmont High School
  • Mike Andres--Willow Glen High
  • Nancy Galindo--Yerba Buena High School
  • Ms. Claypool--Valley Christian High School