California's 2012 Teacher of the Year Honored as Outstanding Alumni with Ohlone Graduates

Thursday, May 23, 2013
Office of College Advancement
Ohlone College

Tom CollettFremont, CA-Almost 550 graduates will be awarded 704 degrees and certificates at the Ohlone College Spring 2013 graduation ceremony recognizing students for their commitment to education and achievement. Honored along with the graduates is Ohlone College alumni Tom Collett, California's 2012 Teacher of the Year, and Valedictorian Rebecca Stein.

This year, Ohlone College will award 105 Associate of Science degrees and 449 Associate of Arts degrees, including 150 multiple degrees to the 554 accomplished graduates at the ceremony. The youngest graduate is 16 years old, and the oldest is 64 years old. Two hundred sixty-three of the graduates are Fremont residents, 49 from Newark, 57 are from Union City, and the remaining graduates are from other parts of the Bay Area including distance learners.

The 2013 Valedictorian, Rebecca Stein, came to Ohlone in 2010 after receiving an Associate of Arts degree from Cabrillo College. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Rebecca came to Ohlone to pursue a degree as a physical therapist assistant. Stein will have completed 159 degree-applicable units at the end of the semester, and is excited to begin her career in the physical therapy field.

Recognized as the 2013 Outstanding Alumni, Tom Collett is a dynamic education innovator who uses his experiences as a magician to kindle students' interest and actively engages them with hands-on activities such as designing rockets, exploring dry ice, and building hot hair balloons. He utilizes cutting-edge technology, including a student response system that sends responses to questions directly to his computer in real time.

Collett graduated from John F. Kennedy High School and went on to earn his Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies from Ohlone College in 1989. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Performance from San Jose State University in 1992 and received a Single Subject Credential in Science and Physical Education from National University in 1993.

In 2012 he was named Teacher of the Year by the State of California and received the Accenture/Chabot Space and Science Center Teacher of the Year award in 2006 for excellence in science teaching. He was instrumental in development of several Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) teams, one of which placed first in the nation in 2007. In addition, during his seventeen years at Newark Memorial High School, Collet created the Marine Science and Technology Institute (MaST) program, which prepares high school students to be teachers by managing a science center and educating the community as docents. Two years ago, Collett joined the staff at Newark Junior High School where he currently teaches eighth-grade science.


  • Ohlone College
    Forty-Sixth Annual Graduation Ceremony
  • Friday, May 24, 2013
  • 7 pm
  • Epler Gymnasium (Building 9) at Ohlone College
    43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont
  • Tickets: required for guests and can be obtained from your graduate
  • Parking is free for graduation

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