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Quincy Educator Named Teacher of the Year
Elementary STEAM enrichment teacher is “lighting a fire” in students of all abilities

OLYMPIA — September 19, 2016 — Camille Jones of Pioneer Elementary in Quincy was named Washington’s 2017 Teacher of the Year at an awards ceremony this afternoon.

On behalf of State Superintendent Randy Dorn, Chief of Staff Ken Kanikeberg congratulated the 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.

Although unable to attend the event, Superintendent Dorn praised the group. “We’re so proud of Camille and all the 2017 Teachers of the Year,” he said. “The Teachers of the Year remind us that innovative teaching happens in every corner of the state and with every level of student – from pre-school to high school.

“Camille’s work in Quincy and the creative model she and her district are using to provide exciting enrichment for all students as a part of their highly-capable program is inspiring. It’s just one of the many ways our schools and teachers are constantly adapting and changing to increase access for all students to the best education possible.”

Program sponsors PEMCO Insurance and Saxton Bradley, Inc. each donated cash awards and scholarships for classroom improvements for both Jones and the Regional Teachers of the Year.

Jones grew up on a farm, where she learned that people work with the soil they have, and that people can bloom where they are planted. After majoring in Spanish, studying abroad in Mexico and Spain, and pursuing an MA in Teaching the Gifted and Talented, she returned to Quincy to cultivate all farm kids with her unique perspective on language and roots.

Part of the relationship Jones has with her hometown includes her “passion to be a positive impact.” Serving on the 2014 Levy Steering Committee and promoting the $108 million-dollar bond campaign, Jones organized community-home meetings for young couples as well as the farmers who would bear a large amount of the bond’s tax burden. With their support, the bond passed with 64 percent of the vote. Jones is also involved with Habitat for Humanity. Through Habitat her students have both seen life-changing events and benefited first-hand through supplies donated for her enrichment units from the Habitat Store.

At Pioneer Elementary, Jones serves as a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) enrichment teacher, providing opportunities for all students. Her approach is inspiring, said her principal, Nik Bergman. “Students in her Enrichment and Highly Capable Program come from poverty, ELL, and Special Ed backgrounds,” he said, “and Camille’s ability to bring out the best in all students is an absolute pleasure to watch.”

Jones facilitated Pioneer’s first international collaborative project, which involved over 40 schools in seven countries to create a “Big Friendly Monster” for display in each participating school. She also led a team to “Destination Imagination,” a student-led, creative problem-solving competition.

Jones believes giving her students challenging tasks and having high expectations reinforces their progress and helps them develop “confidence within their struggle.” She knows she’s on the right track when she hears students say, “I’m being gritty!” Jones says success is when her kids leave Pioneer knowing what a civil engineer, a sculptor or a chemist is, and aspiring to those careers themselves.

Regional Winners
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Assistant Superintendent for Learning & Teaching Kathe Taylor introduced the regional finalists before the State Teacher of the Year was announced. OSPI, The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, GMMB, and alumni Teachers of the Year provide professional development for all finalists. The 2017 Regional Teachers of the Year are:

Tim Larson
Educational Service District 101
Odessa School District | P.C. Jantz Elementary

Jose Corona
Educational Service District 105
Toppenish School District | Kirkwood Elementary

Kendra Yamamoto
Educational Service District 112
Vancouver School District | Martin Luther King Elementary

Carol McKay
Educational Service District 113
Olympia School District | Capital High School

John Gallagher
Educational Service District 114
Port Angeles School District | Port Angeles High School

Alisa Louie
Puget Sound Educational Service District 121
Auburn School District | Evergreen Heights Elementary

Elizabeth Loftus
Northwest Educational Service District 189
Oak Harbor School District | Olympic View Elementary

Next steps
The State Teacher of the Year is Washington’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year, which is awarded by the Council of Chief State School Officers. The next President of the United States will announce the winner in a special ceremony at the White House in the spring.

As the Washington Teacher of the Year, Jones will serve as an ambassador for the teaching profession and serve as Washington’s first ever Teacher of the Year Teacher-in-Residence January–June 2017. The Teacher-in-Residence is funded through a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant.

The selection committee included alumni state teachers of the year and representatives from the following organizations: the Washington Education Association; Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council; Professional Educator Standards Board; Washington Association of School Administrators; and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Photos of each of this year’s finalists are posted on the OSPI education awards page:


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
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 9/19/2016

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