Wendi Butler wins Educator of the Year

Wendi Butler received Educator of the Year award from the Sunrise Optimist Club. Photo by Emma Huebner of The Foothill Dragon Press.

Emma Huebner

Wendi Butler received Educator of the Year award from the Sunrise Optimist Club. Photo by Emma Huebner of The Foothill Dragon Press.
Wendi Butler received Educator of the Year award from the Sunrise Optimist Club. Photo by Emma Huebner of The Foothill Dragon Press.

Rain pattered lightly on the windows of Christy’s Deli in the Ventura Harbor as members of the Sunrise Optimist Club gathered for their weekly meeting at 7 a.m. on Wednesday. They are one of several service clubs whose goal is support the youth of Ventura County.

After a quick meeting, two special guests were brought to attention: Joe Bova, the principal of Foothill, and Wendi Butler, an Honors Physiology, AP Biology, and Medical Technology instructor at Foothill. Butler was honored with an annual Optimist Club award.

“Several months ago,” Steve Boyd, Foothill’s veteran counselor and a member of the Sunrise Optimist Club, explained afterward, “Mrs. Butler came to a meeting and discussed the BioScience Academy and answered questions. After she left, everyone commented on how dynamic her teaching was.”

Butler is the founder of Foothill’s BioScience Academy, a three-year elective program designed to prepare students for careers in the health sciences and biotechnology field.

“One member of the Optimist Club has a granddaughter in the BioScience Academy, and her granddaughter loves it,” Boyd said.

After Butler came and spoke, the members of the club were convinced that she was a perfect candidate for their Educator of the Year Award. “That sealed the deal,” Boyd commented.

As she received the award, Butler explained the significance of the Academy.

“Every class is a lab based class. All of the courses in the academy, except the survey, are advanced electives,” Butler clarified.

In addition to a plaque identifying her as the Sunrise Optimist Club Educator of the Year, Butler received a $200 donation to use in her classroom.

“The school wants to focus on communications and health sciences,” Bova added, “The BioScience Academy has greatly enhanced our science focus. The school’s reputation has grown.”

The additional classes provided by the Academy give students an edge to their college applications and a unique aspect to their high school education.

“Sixty percent of our kids go on to four-year universities,” Bova stated, “The state average is 10 to 15 percent. We want every kid to have that opportunity to go to a four-year university”.

Butler was chosen for the award because of her “stellar job” working with youth, according to Boyd. “I think the world of Mrs. Butler,” he said.

Butler is not only loved by the staff, but the students as well.

Dana Beuttler, a Foothill junior, said of Butler, “I like her energy. She makes really boring topics fun.”

Butler’s love of teaching and enthusiasm carries with her persona, in and out of the classroom.

What do you think?