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Juan Namnun loves his family, loves coaching baseball, loves teaching physical education and health education--and he loves the thrill of competing in television game shows.


In March 2011, Juan appeared on America's GameWheel of Fortune with Pat Sajak and Vanna White.    He won $6,000, but didn't get to the bonus round. 

Fast-forward eight years, his wife, Lena, would reach that game show pinnacle--the bonus round. They were set to spend a week in Belize when COVID struck, but will experience their dream vacation prize this July.

So, how did this hardworking teacher get on America's game show?  He applied, went to New York, interviewed, then flew to Hollywood  on his dime, but returned home with $6,000 in his pocket and a once-in-a-lifetime memory.  


"It was a great experience!  They film three or four shows in one day.  There's a lot to look at, the boards off-screen, the studio audience and so many lights. 


When you're on the show, you rely on your competitors to help you solve the puzzle.  The more vowels and consonants they reveal, it's easier for you to solve the puzzle.  So, you gotta  rely on components to help you.  That's how you're working together," says Namnun.


In 2004, he stepped into the game show circle for the first time, appearing on the $100,000 Pyramid with Michael Strahan, where he went to the bonus round.   He had help from celebrity teammates:  Peri Gilpin, "Roz" of Frazier and Ice T "Detective Fin Tutuolo from Law & Order:  Special Victims Unit.

"Host Michael Strahan is a great guy.  We had fun teasing each other over me being an Eagles fan and him as a former New York Giant."

"I also appeared on the short running, Power of Ten with Drew Carey.  It was only one one season.  It was based on how many people were asked a question.  I tied with another contestant on two answers, which cut production and we had to start over again."

"I love competing in game shows because of how challenging it is to just get on the show itself.  I view it as a major challenge to accomplish getting selected.  And every single casting director and show producer asks for the same things:  very energetic, clear spoken, poised and well groomed.                                                                                                                                                                          

What's on the game show horizon?

"My family, (siblings and Lena,) were selected for Family Feud, and my immediate family (including sons) were picked for a new Disney game show, but COVID struck.

Speaking of COVID, how has virtual teaching affected you at Frankford?

"It was the most challenging year of my career, teaching children and having to use motor movement.  Yes, it was the hardest year, but also the most rewarding.

...After these messages

Juan appeared in the promo commercial below, which

ran for two years after he was a contestant.



The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation sponsors an annual award that recognizes outstanding teachers. The Foundation established the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teachers to honor 60 teachers from Philadelphia public schools who demonstrate excellence in promoting learning at the highest levels.


The award recipients will be chosen based on their activities that improve the intellectual and character development of students.


This award recognizes individuals:

  • who create a positive, supportive learning environment to advance student proficiency in academic subjects, making learning relevant and fun;

  • who serve as a role model to students;

  • who establish trusting relationships with students, parents, guardians, and community members by being open and accessible for communication;

  • who motivate students to learn, explore and maximize their spirit of inquiry and critical thinking;

  • who possess knowledge and demonstrate various instructional strategies;

  • who connect collaborating and inspiring co-workers to energize students in positive ways; and

  • who have not won the award within a ten-year period


A central committee of School District administrators and a Philadelphia Federation of Teachers representative will review and make the final selection for each winner.

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