With the theme of "Winter Wonderland," Fremont Education Foundation's 14th annual Excellence in Education Gala honored Kristi Yamaguchi and Linda Anderson on Friday at Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley.
Annually, the foundation recognizes a community member and a Fremont Unified School District staff member for their service to public education in the city. The event is the sole fundraiser for the foundation's Innovative Education Grant Program, which provides grants to teachers in the district for innovative teaching.
Sherea Westra, a Fremont Education Foundation board member, said the nonprofit sold 333 tickets and raised approximately $20,000 for the grants program.
This year's community honoree, Fremont native Yamaguchi, won the gold medal in figure skating at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Locally, her Always Dream Foundation, founded in 1996 to inspire underserved children to achieve their dreams through reading programs and by advancing the cause of early childhood literacy, has worked closely with a number of Fremont elementary schools to encourage and motivate literacy in young people.
In October 2015, Yamaguchi and her foundation donated 10 books each to every kindergartener in the district -- totaling 260,000 books.
This year's school district honoree, Anderson, the district's director of curriculum and instruction, began her career in the district as a substitute in 1998. She taught third through sixth grades for 10 years, served as service learning coordinator and was principal of Oliveira Elementary School from 2009 to 2014.