Women’s Hall of Fame

Constantine Zakos

As a young teacher graduating and starting a career in the 1960’s, Peace Corps Service beckoned Connie, and she traveled to Sierra Leone, West Africa, to teach in a small upcountry village. Upon her return to California, she joined 3 other teachers to found a new type of alternative program that was just emerging on the educational front. This was Peninsula High School, a continuation program where she championed the cause of at-risk teens for 37 years. During this time, in addition to her full-time duties and responsibilities, Connie always devoted her time to her students and community needs, believing that well-rounded youngsters become more successful adults. She organized countless fund-raising activities, then took students camping, skiing, rock-climbing, scuba diving, involved them in business and professional conferences, prepared barbeques for the entire school, ran a student store and cafeteria at a time when the students had no access to food services. She coordinated CloseUp programs on a Bay area-wide basis, and made her frequent presentations to professional organizations about her programs. She also worked as a consultant to the California Department of Education training teachers in program development, and co-authored two editions of the Work Permit Handbook for the State of California.

Recently, Connie was coaxed out of retirement to become the Coordinator of Adult Secondary and Basic Education with the San Mateo Adult School. She believes her new job is a gift because she has met many youth who still need structure and support, and through her job she is again able to encourage them into the “next” step of more formal education and training.

Connie has been recognized and awarded for her vision, commitment and belief in and love of youth. The City of San Bruno declared May 30, 2003 as her day, and she was named Teacher of the Year for Continuation Education in California.
*This biography and photo of the honoree was published in .

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