OAKLAND -- Fans chose an Oakland Technical High School special education teacher to represent the Oakland A's with Major League Baseball's All-Star Teachers program.
The school's Keith Debro and 29 other remarkable current and retired teachers will be honored at the All-Star game in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Though Debro has taught for 25 years, he has been an A's fan for much longer. His grandmother introduced him to baseball when he was 4 years old, and 10 years later, he watched the A's play their first game in Oakland.
Even though Baltimore won, he has been a fan ever since.
"The big thing for me is that I'm proud to represent our school, Oakland Tech and the city," Debro said. "To bring it a little better light than it's often portrayed in, that's what's inspiring me."
He started an after-school mentoring program that pairs high school students and elementary school students, and he also attends all Parent Teacher Student Association meetings to support his students and their parents.
"I just want to make sure their voices are heard," Debro said, because the parents of special education students are often outnumbered at meetings. "At least I can be there and make sure we're not going to get steamrolled."
Debro is also known for throwing barbecues for his classes and paying for snacks on field trips -- all out of pocket. At the end of every school year, he takes his class to Santa Cruz, again, on his own dime and with funds he raised.
"He's just a great, phenomenal teacher," said Josue Diaz Jr., assistant principal at Oakland Tech. "He's always putting in so many extra hours outside of the class. He goes above and beyond for the students of Oakland."
His wife, Kelly McDonald, entered Debro after seeing a call for All-Star teacher nominations in People magazine.
"He's does it all, but he does it all very quietly," she said.
"He just works hard at it."
Debro also has one-on-one tutoring sessions and teaches adults at night. During the school year, he shows up to games and academic events to support students.
The Thursday after Debro returns home from the All-Star game, he has plans to take his class to the Department of Motor Vehicles so they can get IDs for jobs, going through the airport and "everything in life," McDonald said.
"Just the person who he is just naturally makes him an All-Star teacher," Diaz said.