JOANNE RON GILBERT is an educator who specializes in “at risk” students. According to her nominator, she “has received no formal awards, but is recognized by those who know her as someone who has transformed lives.” Transferred from Detroit to San Mateo County in 1984, newly divorced with a teenaged son – her job was soon eliminated. She worked out a homesharing plan to provide her son with a secure environment, returned to school to earn a teaching credential, got a full time teaching job, and developed a private tutoring practice. She also managed to volunteer as a landlord-tenant dispute mediator, to coordinate events for the jazz for the Homeless program, and to work in local political campaigns. As a member of the county Human Relations Commission, she developed the first and only County Hate Crimes conference. In 1992, finally able to buy her own condo and seeing her son in law school, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. During her battle with this disease, which left her voiceless and unable to work for three months, she maintained correspondence with her students, providing them with support and counsel. Back at work since February, 1995, she is also taking classes in alternative dispute resolution and educational therapy.