Former Pasadena ISD teacher receives Sondheim Award
Former Dobie High School teacher Richard Galenko was selected as one of 10 national winners of the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award.
The award, given each year by the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., is meant to recognize and reward teachers who have had an exceptional impact on the lives of their students. Recipients are nominated by their former students and receive a cash prize of $10,000.
Golenko, who retired last spring, worked within the Pasadena Independent School District for 35 years. He served as sociology teacher, Latin instructor and Academic Decathlon coach, winning two national championships.
Alice High School Drama teacher Darleen Totten was the former student responsible for Golenko's nomination. Totten, Dobie High School Class of 1973, suffered the death of her father due to heart attack while still in high school. As she struggled to deal with her loss, Totten received the help she needed from Golenko and his colleague, the late Richard Clarke. "I thought no one cared about me or loved me," said Totten in a press release on the award announcement. "But Mr. Golenko did. He would ask me to grade papers for him. That sounds so stupid now, but on those mornings when I would wake up and not want to go to school, I made sure I would get there in time for his class, in time to grade those papers."
When she graduated, it was Golenko and Clarke who greeted her as she left the stage.
“It's certainly gratifying,” Golenko said of the award. “But I realize there are multitudes of other teachers who have done the same thing for their students. Those teachers are just as deserving."
Dobie High School is located at 10220 Blackhawk in Houston. For more information, visit www1.pasadenaisd.org.
To learn more about the Sondheim Award and see a full list of 2012 award recipients, visit www.kennedy-center.org/programs/awards/sondheim.