Ben Ku, a science teacher, paid tribute to his South Pasadena High School his colleagues and students after being recognized this week as a National Board Certified Teacher.
The high honor came during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting at the South Pasadena Unified School District.
The certification recognizes accomplished teachers and is the most respected certification for those in the K-12 educational system.
Ku, a South Pasadena High alumnus, said he was deeply honored to become a National Board Certified Teacher, saying the achievement would not have been possible without the support of those around him. “I want to honor the teachers and school staff at this district who invested in me in my childhood,” he said. “They instilled in me values of hard work, of striving for excellence and of continual growth. I would also like to appreciate my colleagues at the high school – the teachers, particularly in the science department, the counselors and site administrators. They have journeyed with me through my seven years of teaching, through the times of celebration as well as challenge. Without their support, I may not still be teaching.”
Ku added that he’s “very grateful for the amazing students” he has had the privilege to teach. “I feel that they are fans of me as much as I am of them,” he said. “And I feel honored to be able to impact them during these formative years of their lives.”
He wants to encourage his fellow teachers to strive to become the best they can be and for the school district to invest in its teachers “so we can provide the best opportunities for our students,” he added.
Board of Education member Michele Kipke said, “Bravo to you. It sounds like it was a wonderful program. I hear your enthusiasm and passion. Thank you on behalf of our kids.”
Fellow board member Elisabeth Eilers thanked Ku for “pouring your heart into your students.”
South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz also praised the efforts of Ku noting, “It’s truly about working on your teaching and instructional strategies, getting yourself to a higher level in your practice. It takes a lot of perseverance. Not everybody who starts finishes.”
In attendance at the board meeting was fellow SPHS teacher Dean Papadakis, Ku’s high school science teacher. “As a colleague of Mr. Ku, I firsthand see the effort he puts into his job,” said Papadakis. “The teachers in the science department see that as well. He’s not only an inspiration to his students but also to his colleagues.”