M-A’s Pam Wimberly gets new accolades as she’s poised to begin her 50th teaching year

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on June 12, 2017

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When the Menlo-Atherton High School bell rings on August 16 for the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, physical education teacher Pam Wimberly will be there — just as she’s been for the past 50 years!

She’ll be bringing with her yet another award. This Saturday, June 17, she is being inducted into the Hall of Fame by the California Coaches Association. She is already a member of M-A’s hall of fame.

It’s the kids that keep her going, she says. “I’m motivated by what has always motivated me, to instill in students the importance of physical fitness for the rest of their lives.”

Pam had recently graduated from Morgan State College, a historically-black school in Baltimore, when a gentleman by the name of John Bunting came calling.  “He was traveling throughout the South to recruit African-Amercan teachers for the Sequoia High School District,” she recalls. “We talked in person on campus, and then I had a three-way call with him along with the chairman of the physical education department.

“I got the job and moved west in August of 1968. I had an aunt here but otherwise knew no one. My parents did encourage me; they’d passed through the Golden Gate during my dad’s Army career and felt California was a good place to be.”

While the San Francisco Bay Area has been her home ever since, she brought with her a born-on-the-East-Coast love of the Dodgers, for which she gets a fair amount of ribbing from her students. “It was the Dodgers who gave a black man the chance to play, and I got to see Jackie Robinson at Connie Mack Stadium [in Philadelphia] and that was that. I’ve been a Dodger fan ever since,” she says. “Whenever they’re in town, I sit right behind their dugout at AT&T with my daughter in her Giants garb right next to me.”

At M-A, Pam coached basketball for 42 years and softball for 15 years. She was also the Athletic Director for 24 years. We wondered if there was any special memory, special team. She paused before answering: “I had an outstanding group of young ladies when we won the second CCS basketball championship.”

Pam, who was named teacher of the year at M-A in 1986, considers herself “an educator first.” But that doesn’t diminish her love of sports. The senior softball team she coaches, Saints Express, competed today in the National Senior Games in Birmingham, winning one and losing one in the 65+ division. So yes, educator first but always competitor, too.

Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2017

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Carisa Iezza June 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Mrs. Wimberly was always a favorite faculty member back during my years at Menlo Atherton ’77-’81. I wish her congratulations on her induction into the Hall of Fame by the California Coaches Assoc.! Way to go Mrs. Wimberly!

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Lawrence Haggins June 12, 2017 at 5:31 pm

To the greatest coach ever I hope to see you this year at M.A to give you a big Hug.

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Karen DeNyse June 12, 2017 at 7:12 pm

You were one of my favorite teachers back in75′ Coach you do your profession proud you’re a rock star!

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Katie Dorkey June 12, 2017 at 8:23 pm

Congrats!

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Kayhy Webber Goss June 12, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Miss Wimberley was always inspirational, even thru circuit training. MA74. Love yo you.

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Anna steichen June 12, 2017 at 9:31 pm

I was not the best student at M-A, but I want to say that of the few teachers I have fond memories ms. Weberly is one of them. That really means a lot when school wasn’t a high priority back then. I believe it is teachers like her that passed on a love of school that even though I didn’t feel it back then I have impressed on my daughter the importance of education. Something must have sunk in. Thank you.

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Roslyn Raney June 13, 2017 at 12:24 am

I remember when Ms. Wimberly was a brand new teacher at M-A! She was a class act from day one. Congrats on a long and successful career!

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Janelle Tillotson June 13, 2017 at 6:52 am

As my PE teacher, Coach Wimberly taught me proper fitness and how to behave. She was a role model of a strong Black woman and kept her big beautiful afro in the 90’s when nobody was doing it. She modeled excellence and leadership, coaching winning basketball teams. She modeled entrepreneurship, opening a small business in the community. I am grateful for having been her student, and I’m better for it!

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Mykisha June 13, 2017 at 9:03 am

Ms Wimberly was my P.E teacher and my mom too.She is very nice person with good care heart.

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Pamela June 13, 2017 at 9:46 am

MA 81 I loved Ms. Wimberly even though she made us work hard. She was my softball coach.

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Michele June 14, 2017 at 1:24 am

I left Varsity and returned to J.V. She said are you sure. I said yes. I ended up sitting the bench on J.V. I left Varsity because it was harder but I would have played more. She allowed me to make the mistake that I would never forget for the rest of my life. Never go backwards from fear of going forward.

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Randy Clunge June 14, 2017 at 8:26 am

She was the first teacher that told me to “stop trying so hard”. I was a 2 sport athlete and when PE came around I didn’t know how NOT to compete, and she taught me to love the game more — no matter what game I was playing. Thanks Mrs Wimberly.

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Nina Spears June 14, 2017 at 8:51 am

Congratulations Mrs. Wimberly, (Wimbo). I am so happy she is being recognized. She truly is a great teacher and coach. I played ball from 76-80. Wimbo may not know this but, lots of young ladies including myself admired her and wanted to be just like her. She was passionate about education and competition. I can definitely say without a doubt she influenced me to go to college. Today I am a successful Pharmacist and recently went back to school to get my degree in Counseling. Congrats Wimbo on all your accolades, you deserve them and so many more.

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Melody June 14, 2017 at 9:34 am

“Wimbo” was my favorite teacher, on and off the court. I remember meeting her when I was 8 yrs. old, long and lanky, trying to run track. I was terrible. She said, “Don’t worry, you’re going to play basketball for me when you get older”. I don’t know how she knew that, but it was true. I ended up at Menlo Atherton, and guess who was my coach? (smile) She broke me down to build me up to the point that I played collegiately. She’s a wonderful lady that I’ll always admire. This induction couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.

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Glinda Primes June 14, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Hi Mrs. Kimberly, it’s Glinda Primes from class of ’74. Congratulations! I would like you to know that the best time I had was in your P.E. class! Thank you.

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Caroline Wyatt June 15, 2017 at 11:44 am

I was a transfer student from RAVENSWOOD HIGH when it closed in 1976. I was 1 of 2 RHS transfers to make the team. It was very hard because most of the players had played together for at least 4 years. Wimbo explain that if I accepted to offer to be on Varsity, I may not get much playing time. I didn’t but I enjoyed playing with Mel, Rosie, Brenda and the rest of the girl in practice. I felt apart of the MA BEARS FAMILY. I was a junior and graduated early to play for College of Notre Dame. During my freshman year, we were playing at Sierra High School in San Mateo when the MA BEARS had just finished playing. I spoke with Mrs. Wimbo and she told me she knew I would find on the team and that the reason I didn’t play in regular game because I player hard in practice which help the team become more aggressive during the season. We made it to the CCS Finals but lost to Saint Francis HS 1977. Thank you Mrs. WIMBERLY for seeing something in me to help our team. Thank you Melody Clark for being so cool and making me feel welcomed and a MA BEARS!

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Patrick Brumfield June 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Mrs. Wimberly and my mom were good friends when I was going to M.A. so I know I had to be on my p’s and q’s. The year I graduated was the year she was named “Teacher of the year.” Congratulations Mrs. Wimberly, you earned it. Class of ’86

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Lorinda Outlaw June 16, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Congratulations to u Ms. Wimberly. You not only installed a healthy physical stability in my young life, but mental stability as well. I speak for sooo many others. You and Coach Parks were fundamental parents to the young uncanvased minds, and I personally thank you! I still have vivid dreams of suiting up and running out for warm-ups just before the game; and we still win all the time (lol)… thank u again Ms. Wimberly for the fond memories and a heartfelt congrats !!!

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Darcy Boyd June 18, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Pam has been my friend just about fifty years. I was a freshman in her first year at MA! Played four years on her basketball and softball teams. Went on to do the same in college. She had a major influence on me as I was growing up and always encouraged. I went into the same profession – teaching PE without even knowing my destiny, but she always did. I teach to this day in the same style! I watched her kids and her family grow and have kept in touch ever since! Congrats to a great person!

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