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Seattle Elementary Teacher Named Teacher of the Year
His classroom is full of music, hands-on experiments and rigorous writing

SEATTLE – September 22, 2014 – Lyon Terry of Lawton Elementary in Seattle was named Washington’s 2015 Teacher of the Year at an awards ceremony this afternoon.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn congratulated the nine Regional Teachers of the Year and announced the State Teacher of the Year at EMP Museum. The event was hosted by EMP and the Charles Beresford Company.

“What makes Lyon and all the 2015 Teachers of the Year stand out is that they see the big picture of education,” Superintendent Dorn said. “They understand that great teachers and schools teach to the heads, hands and hearts of their students. Students must meet academic standards. But they also need to learn how to make things, serve their community, persevere through difficulty and treat others with kindness. Our Teachers of the Year understand that. And it’s why we lift them up as examples for all.”

Program sponsors PEMCO Insurance, SMART Technologies, and Saxton Bradley, Inc., each donated cash awards, technology prizes and scholarships for classroom improvements for Lyon and the other eight Regional Teachers of the Year.

Lyon is a National Board Certified Teacher. He has taught at Lawton since 2005 in 2nd, 3rd and multi-age classrooms, where he focuses on creating confident, hard-working and compassionate learners. Lyon wants his students to learn how to be both kind and smart. This desire is woven into his classroom culture and his personal role modeling. His classroom is filled with warmth and is perfectly balanced between intellectual conversation, hands-on experiments and cultural and artistic exploration.

Lyon believes that community connections strengthen student learning. He fully immerses himself in the community through scouts, sport programs and various non-profits. These connections enrich his classroom with guest presenters and neighborhood volunteer projects.

Lyon is a doer. When he noticed many of Lawton’s students were riding to school in cars instead of walking, he recruited older students to serve as crossing guards and bus greeters, and organized Seattle’s first walking school bus program.

Lyon has served in numerous leadership roles in his school and district, most often in the areas of writing and literacy, and also as a union representative. He has worked to integrate elements of Writer’s Workshop into Lawton and currently sits on a district committee focused on aligning reading and writing with the Common Core. During his time a Lawton, 4th-grade writing proficiency rates on the MSP have risen over 10 percentage points.

Lyon believes teachers are agents of social change because they shape young learners into thoughtful citizens. He knows just the right way to engage students in this learning. “Mr. Terry connects with children, holds them to a high standard of behavior and work ethic, and offers support for them to be successful,” says Principal Neil Gerrans. “His spot-on timing, knowing when to question and probe and when to slow down seems instinctive, but it is honed by his reflective practice.”

Regional Winners
Before announcing the State Teacher of the Year, Superintendent Dorn introduced the regional finalists. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession provide professional development for all the finalists:

Linda Carney
Educational Service District 101
Spokane School District | Shadle Park High School

Spencer Martin
Educational Service District 105
Sunnyside School District | Sunnyside High School

Sharon Conditt
Educational Service District 112
Woodland School District | Woodland High School

Barbara Page
Educational Service District 113
Aberdeen School District | Aberdeen High School

Kimberly Witte
Educational Service District 114
Central Kitsap School District | PineCrest Elementary School

Glen Landrus
Educational Service District 123
Asotin-Anatone School District | Asotin High School

Lisa Snyder
North Central Educational Service District 171
Eastmont School District | Robert E. Lee Elementary School

Barney Peterson
Northwest Educational Service District 189
Everett School District | James Monroe Elementary School

Next Steps
As the 2015 State Teacher of the Year, Lyon will serve as an ambassador for the teaching profession in 2014–15, while maintaining his duties at Lawton.

He will also be considered for National Teacher of the Year, awarded by the Council of Chief State School Officers. President Obama will announce the winner in a special ceremony at the White House in the spring.

More Information

About the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee
The selection committee includes previous State Teachers of the Year and representatives from the Washington Education Association, Washington State Board of Education, Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council, Washington State Parent Teacher Association, and the Association of Washington School Principals.


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 9/22/2014

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