Todd Higashi, a science and photography teacher at , is one of five finalists for Comcast Sportsnet's 2012 All-Star Teacher Award.
The award, presented this year by Provident Credit Union, recognizes middle and high school teachers in Northern and Central California for their extraordinary dedication to their students and significant presence within their respective communities, according to a Comcast spokesperson.
The winning teacher’s school will receive $20,000.
You can vote for your favorite among the five finalists at CSNBayArea.com/allstarteacher2012 through Sunday, June 3.
Higashi, now in his fourth year at ASTI, teaches biology, anatomy and physiology, and digital photography. He taught previously at Berkeley High School, Oakland's Castlemont High School and in Japan.
He received his undergraduate degree from UC Davis and his master's degree in education at UC Berkeley.
"Todd places a high priority on connecting personally with students," said ASTI Principal Steven R. Fong.
"Beyond all else, his students know that he is there to support them inside and outside of the classroom in any way he can. He frequently acts as a confidant when students are struggling with situations at home and helps refer them to the appropriate services.
"In his courses he emphasizes connections to the real world. This year he has focused his anatomy & physiology curriculum on case studies, each highlighting a different physiological process and set of anatomical structures.
"His work with students in digital photography pushes their creativity and facilitates their development of multimedia skills. He has also revitalized our school’s yearbook team as the advisor and we are looking forward to another great product.
Students often identify Higashi as one of their favorite instructors, fong said.
"Todd is an integral part of our community," Fong said. "He is present at most extracurricular events and has himself organized very successful activities such as the ASTI Amazing Race."
You can see a short video profile of Higachi, including footage of him teaching at ASTI and some student testimonials, at http://www.csnbayarea.com/sportsnetBayArea/search/v/55169178/all-star-teacher-2012-todd-higashi.htm.
The other finalists are Ronnie Cato of Mt. Eden High School, Hayward; Claudia Natale of Cupertino Middle School; Dr. Paul Ricks of Hopkins Junior High School in Fremont; and April Silva of John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Hanford, CA.
The winning All-Star Teacher will be announced Wednesday, June 27 at an on-field ceremony prior to the San Francisco Giants/Los Angeles Dodgers game at AT&T Park and live during Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s telecast of Giants Pregame Live.
For more information on voting for your favorite finalist via texting or online, visit CSNBayArea.com/allstarteacher2012.Anyone with a valid email address is eligible to vote. There's a limit of one vote per valid email address and one per phone number.
For more information, visit the All-Star Teacher Award on Facebook at facebook.com/csnallstarteacher.
Another Alameda teacher, Allen Nakamura of Alameda High School, was named the 2008 All-Star Teacher.