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Zillah Educator is National Finalist for Teacher of the Year
STEM teacher is an inspiration in and out of the classroom

OLYMPIA — January 17, 2013 — Jeff Charbonneau, a high school science teacher at Zillah High School and Washington’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year. The other finalists include a high school English teacher from Maryland, a pre-Kindergarten teacher from Florida and a high school music teacher from New Hampshire.

“We’re very excited that Jeff has been selected as a national finalist,” said State Superintendent Randy Dorn. “It’s not surprising considering how much he has already accomplished. His leadership among his peers, his dedication to providing world-class math and science education for all of his students, and the incredible level of commitment he displays for his community are remarkable.”

Charbonneau is a National Board Certified STEM teacher, adjunct faculty at three colleges and universities, Pro-Cert and National Board mentor, co-president of his local Education Association and advisor to numerous clubs. He has created a series of college-level offerings in math and science that allow students in rural Zillah to earn up to 24 college credits before graduating.

Outside of the classroom, Charbonneau has created a statewide robotics challenge that has served almost 1,000 students. His Pathfinders club teaches backpacking and hiking skills along with environmental studies and community service. His yearbook recently digitally preserved over eighty years of the publication for enjoyment by alumni and future generations.

In everything he does, Charbonneau is focused in building up students, colleagues and his community and creating a more resilient future. Jeff believes passionately that most schools are not failing. They are constantly adapting and improving. He has used his time as Teacher of the Year to promote the success story of American education.

“Jeff's message about what is working in public education is exactly what our country needs to hear,” says Zillah Superintendent Kevin McKay. “In a time when many are focused on our failures, it is inspiring to hear from Jeff about the continuous improvement he sees all around him. When you talk to him and see what is happening in his classroom, you can’t help but feel the same way. I sincerely hope the rest of the country gets to see our schools through Jeff’s eyes.”

Next steps
The national finalists will travel to Washington, D.C. in March to interview with the National Teacher of the Year selection committee. President Obama will announce the winner in a special ceremony at the White House in April.


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

For more information

More about Jeff Charbonneau

Washington Teacher of the Year nomination and selection process

More about the National Teacher of the Year program and selection


   Updated 4/23/2013

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