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Sycamore Junior High Teacher Pete Tanaka Named Celebrate Excellence Educator of the Year

Pete Tanaka is Sycamore's Celebrate Excellence Educator of the Year Sycamore Community Schools is proud to announce Sycamore Junior High teacher Pete Tanaka as the district’s 2018-2019 Celebrate Excellence Educator of the Year. Click here to see video of the surprise announcement on April 4.


Mr. Tanaka was selected out of 126 nominations submitted by parents, students, and colleagues. The award honors educators who demonstrate a high level of commitment toward student achievement, challenging students at all levels, and extending him or herself to make a positive difference.


“Pete is the essence of a truly extraordinary teacher.  Every single day his students are at the core of his actions. There is not a student he cannot reach through his unique ability to develop and nurture a positive relationship. In Pete’s mind, student success is his success,” said Frank Forsthoefel, superintendent.


Mr. Tanaka’s service to Sycamore students and families spans more than two decades. He arrived in the district in 1993, the same year he graduated from the University of Cincinnati. He has taught math at Sycamore Junior High for 25 years. Tanaka has also served on several district curriculum committees, taught summer school, and served as a homebound instructor. He has also coached the boy’s soccer teams for more than 20 years and is an honoree in the Sycamore Coaches Hall of Fame.


“Mr. Tanaka is an outstanding educator. His knowledge of mathematics and how to teach mathematics is exceptional. His methods are clear, concise, interactive and he is able to work students through both formulas and concepts, but it goes beyond the classroom,” said Dr. Traci Rea, principal. “With a humble, kind approach, he connects with his students and student-athletes and cares deeply for them. He has truly touched so many lives.”


Sycamore High School freshman Ethan Crane was among the three people who submitted nominations for Mr. Tanaka this year.


“He was very helpful and enthusiastic about teaching math. He helped each individual student succeed and went out of his way to make sure you felt comfortable,” said Crane. “He was the best teacher I have ever had.”


Nan Merrow said his son also said Mr. Tanaka was the most effective math teacher he had ever had.


“Mr. Tanaka maintains a good balance of serious instruction while continuing to be approachable and kind to students,” Merrow said. “He allows students to find new and creative ways to solve equations.”


John Yengo, parent of one of Mr. Tanaka’s students said his efforts go beyond the classroom.


“I’ve seen Pete put many hours in outside his math class to help current past students improve their math skills,” said Yengo. “His goal always seems to be to get the most out of every student, no matter what effort is required.”


Mr. Tanaka will be honored during the Hamilton County Education Foundation’s 13th Annual Celebrate Excellence Breakfast on May 3 at the Sharonville Convention Center.


The district will share the wonderful things that were said about each of the other 82 nominees and their service to students in an upcoming communication.