2010 Teacher of the Year
Teacher of the Year and Regional Winners
Bellingham School District
Jamie teaches Chemistry and bicycle maintenance at Bellingham High School. Jamie’s classroom is a place of industry and experiment where every moment is precious and is often still full of students long after the bell rings. His fervor for science and skill at relationship building have that effect.
Jamie seeks out professional development opportunities for himself and colleagues that expand the walls of the classroom. Most recently, he has used a technology grant he received to mentor two colleagues in incorporating technology into the classroom. In his own classes he uses vodcasting to produce lectures. Students watch the vodcasts at home and are able to review concepts whenever necessary. Class time is devoted to lab as much as possible. The success of the project has led to school wide trainings in vodcasting.
Jamie is passionate about teaching to multiple intelligences. He incorporates both lecture and inquiry based activities into his lesson to engage kinesthetic as well as auditory and visual learners. He reminds students that wrong answers lead to new discoveries and creates an environment where students feel not only physically safe but academically safe experimenting with new ideas.
Jamie’s commitment to engaging kinesthetic learners doesn’t stop at the science lab. Last year he was able to secure over $5,000 from grants and community support to offer Bellingham High’s first ever bicycle maintenance class. This class has reached a whole new segment of the school population; helping students who previously described themselves as not “school smart” discover their own brilliance.
His colleague, John Hoffman, sums it up, “At all levels, Jamie is guiding, challenging and inspiring his students to grow and learn. His standard is not far short of herculean, but all of his peers can at least aspire to the level of significance that Jamie achieves with his students.”
2010 Regional Teachers of the Year
West Valley High School
West Valley School District
Central Washington University and Eastern Washington University, Continuing Education
Eastern Washington University, Bachelor of Arts (Music), 1973
Jim is the Band Director at West Valley High School in Spokane, a position he has held since 1992. Jim is a self described ‘builder.’ When he arrived, the band was a struggling group of 17. Today, students from West Valley are invited to perform around the region and country.
Among his colleagues, Jim is known as a team player and creative problem solver. By utilizing Ebay and building relationships with dealers, he has been able to save the district thousands of dollars without sacrificing the quality or quantity of instruments the band program needs to be successful.
Jim also coordinates with the middle school band director to create a program that is integrated across middle and high school, and he has recently started a new zero hour band program for 5th graders. This program, by the way, uses secondary buses that are already making runs to transport elementary band students to their schools in time for the beginning of the school day.
But to Jim, the band is more than instrument procurement or schedule wizardry. It is a family. Jim has assembled the largest parent/booster group in the school. Over the years, the band has gone through everything a family does. They have celebrated success, served their community, traveled the country and mourned together when they recently lost a band member.
As one parent simply puts it, ”Students who enter as young freshmen graduate 4 years later as young adults, shaped for life by his personal mentoring, coaching, teaching – and parenting.”
Jim’s areas of expertise include: Music instruction, Team teaching, Multiage
classrooms, Alternative education, Block teaching, Parent participation
Garfield Elementary School
Toppenish School District
Central Washington University, Fifth Year, 1974
Gonzaga University, Bachelor of Arts (Education), 1970
Madeline is the Reading Coach at Garfield Elementary School in Toppenish. Madeline has taught in Toppenish for the past 35 years. Madeline has a deep and abiding belief that literacy is central to a child’s academic success. This belief coupled with her mastery of using data to guide instruction make her current assignment as a Reading Coach perfect. In fact, in the 8 years since she began as Garfield’s Reading Coach, 4th grade WASL scores have improved over 100%!
Madeline’s commitment to engaging families and communities in the education of our young people is evident in her support of programs like ‘Reading Day,’ where members of the community share a little bit about their job and the education they needed to prepare; and ‘Family Nights’ where Madeline meets with the PTO to provide insight into how parents can support their students’ learning in the home.
As and classroom teacher and now a coach, Madeline continuously reflects on her own instruction practices. She is a passionate proponent of Professional Learning Communities and has worked with her principal to implement them building-wide.
Throughout her long career, Madeline has embraced the changes that have swept education. According to her principal, Matt Piper, one thing remains unchanged: “She truly believes that no child can be ‘left behind.’ Her willingness to do what is best for children and our school is second to none.”
Madeline’s areas of expertise include: Literacy instruction, English language
learners, Curriculum integration, Blending classroom, Block teaching,
Multicultural education, Parent participation, Building-based management
Fort Vancouver High School
Vancouver Public Schools
Chapman University, Master of Education, 1997
Knox College, Bachelor of Arts (Spanish), 1990
Ken teaches Spanish and CONEVyT at Fort Vancouver High School. CONEVyT is an online program that allows Spanish speaking students to earn math and science credits in Spanish while they improve their English proficiency.
Ken is a visionary. He not only sees the big picture but has a plan for getting there. Ken listens to students and observes his community to uncover the full scope of need. Then he works systematically to put each piece of the program into place. Each new component building on the success of previous endeavors. In the three years since he arrived at Fort Vancouver, Ken has successfully piloted CONEVyT for students, established La Plaza to provide learning opportunities for the extended Latino community at Fort Vancouver and spearheaded efforts to expand La Plaza to reach parents and families of elementary students. To accomplish this, Ken has collaborated with faculty at the local community college to provide English instruction and created a network of support that includes childcare and educational resources for the entire family.
The success of La Plaza has made Ken a leader in the state and country. He has recently presented at conferences in Chicago and Mexico City. In May, the Consul of Mexico visited Vancouver to observe La Plaza and interview parents and students.
Ken’s vision and energy are matched by his tireless dedication to the success of individual students. As a former student testifies: “I can honestly say that no other individual has impacted me in such a lasting, positive way . . . the professional success I enjoy today is a direct result of his work, and the most beautiful thing is that I am just one among many others who have been touched by him.”
Ken’s areas of expertise include: Foreign language instruction, English
language learners, Online learning, Blended classrooms, Multicultural education,
Conflict resolution, Parent participation and Community Outreach.
North Thurston Public Schools
North Thurston School District
University of Washington, Master of Education, 1995
University of Washington, Bachelor of Arts, 1994
South Puget Sound Community College, Associate of Arts, 1992
Heather has taught in North Thurston Public Schools for the past 12 years where she has served as a classroom teacher, school librarian and, most recently, elementary instructional specialist. Regardless of her role, Heather’s philosophy remains the same: Every child is whole. When provided the right opportunities and challenges, every student can achieve.
Heather knows that providing those opportunities often requires teachers to re-imagine their curriculum and expand the concept of classroom. Some of her creative solutions have included hosting a sub club during the lunch hour to help struggling math students catch up and using increased responsibility to discipline a student who often borrowed library books without checking them out.
She is also an expert communicator. Able to walk into a room of new teachers, squirming 4th graders or seasoned educators and engage them in an instant with her enthusiasm, warmth and genuine interest in their experiences. As an instructional coach, Heather excels. She is a master teacher and a true collaborator. Over 90% of her peer reviews report that Heather’s training has made a difference for their students, and more than one teacher has credited Heather with renewing their passion and commitment to teaching.
Her colleague, Megan Conklin, sums it up. “Heather Rader’s ability to do this challenging and important work of teaching with such skill, grace and compassion truly amazes me time and time again. Her unwavering conviction that every student deserves the best possible teacher and her devotion to making that dream a reality is an inspiration to me and to many.”
Heather’s areas of expertise include: Writing instruction and scoring,
Cooperative learning, Classroom management, Instructional coaching, Marzano’s
High Yield Strategies, Balanced Math Instruction
Klahowya Secondary School
Central Kitsap School District
Walden University, Master of Science (Education), 2007
Washington State University, Bachelor of Arts (Education), 1992
For the past 13 years, Danyell has taught English at Klahowya Secondary School. Danyell connects every lesson to the world her students are living in. Teaching literacy, research and writing in the context of their school, state, country and the world. She believes educators must adapt by incorporating technology and new methods of instruction into their classrooms if they are to truly engage all students.
Her ability to build trusting relationships with students is unparalleled. She is kind and fair; understanding and demanding. Engaging students who fail elsewhere. So trusted by students that recently the entire Students Opposing Suicide Team listed Danyell as their personal advocate.
As her principal, Ryan Stevens, testifies: “(she) exhibits courageous teaching on a daily basis. She welcomes struggling students into her classroom and makes them believe in their own internal abilities. She possesses the ability to locate that one ember that a student hides from other teachers and she stokes that ember until the student catches fire with a desire to learn.”
For Danyell, accountability is both personal and global. She arrives in her classroom everyday prepared to lead by example and open to learning new things. In doing so, Danyell is both examining her own practice and modeling life-long learning for her students and peers daily.
Above all, Danyell works hard to help her students recognize all the world has to offer them. She tells them that the world needs them to become responsible citizens, and she reminds them that they have the power to create for themselves lives that are both rewarding and filled with purpose.
Danyell’s areas of expertise include: Literacy and English instruction,
Cooperative learning, Curriculum integration, Alternative education an
assessment, Block teaching and Whole language
Kent Elementary School
Kent School District
Washington State University, Master of Education, 1997
Central Washington University, Bachelor of Arts (Education), 1992
Michelle is a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches a 3rd/4th grade class in the highly capable program at Kent Elementary. Michelle is committed to high standards in academics, ethics, citizenship, leadership and creativity. She believes students who see education as a gift will embrace an “I get to” rather than an “I have to” attitude.
From the very beginning, Michelle has sought out opportunities to teach in high need environments. The highly capable program at Kent seems the perfect fit for her. Michelle’s classroom is incredibly diverse and includes English language learners and special education students. She is able to expertly accommodate the unique needs of every student while maintaining high expectations. The result is that each student receives the highest quality education possible.
Michelle takes every opportunity to incorporate technology into her own classroom and to encourage her peers to do so as well. At a district technology showcase, her students used microscopes connected to computers to create time lapse movies. Outside of the classroom, Michelle has worked with the Century 21 afterschool program and coordinated Summer School. She has also helped develop a literacy course sequence and taught one of those courses for a teacher certification program through Eastern Washington University.
In the end, it’s witnessing the success of her students that Michelle considers the biggest perk of her job. And there’s plenty of that success. Writes one parent, “Her success in helping my own Aspberger’s afflicted son become a Hi-Cap, Honor Roll student is only one example of her ability to overcome adversity on the path to success. Michelle Kelly changes the lives of her student, their parents and her co-workers in the most positive way!”
Michelle’s areas of expertise include: Literacy, Multiage classrooms, English
language learners, Diversity and equity, Multicultural Education, At-risk
learners, Gifted Education / Non-traditional gifted learners and High-poverty
McLoughlin Middle School
Pasco School District
Walden University, Master of Science (Education), 2007
Eastern Washington University, Bachelor of Arts (Education), 2004
Columbia Basin Community College, Associate of Arts, 2001
Aimee is a special education teacher at McLoughlin. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher.
Aimee’s job is to take on the most challenging students, to peel back the layers of frustration and misunderstanding and to help them develop the skills they need to be successful. She approaches each student by assessing first what they are good at and using those things as a spring board to the next goal. As a life-long learner, Aimee embraces each student’s challenges as an opportunity to learn something new herself. Over the past three years she has completed her Masters program, attended Guided Language Acquisition Design training, participated in an OSPI Science Content Workgroup and earned her National Board Certification.
Aimee is committed to mainstreaming her students whenever possible. Her students attend school dances and have general education ‘buddies’ and attend general education classes once a day. She envisions a classroom immersed in diversity; one where her students are learning alongside highly capable kids and English language learners.
Aimee strives for immersion for herself as well. In fact, last January she organized a large team of students, parents and teachers from McLoughlin to participate in a Special Olympics fundraiser called the Polar Bear Plunge. They won Top Fundraising School and because of her enthusiastic recruitment, students from 8 of the 10 district life skills classes participated in the Special Olympics.
Her principal, Michelle Whitney, reflects: “She is an agent of change, who has impacted McLoughlin Middle School in more ways that I can mention, and she can ever imagine or would be willing to admit. Her humble and kind demeanor is steadfast and admirable. She is a gift.”
Aimee’s areas of expertise include: Special education,
Inclusion/mainstreaming, Data collection for IEPs, Alternative assessment,
Behavior management, Parent participation and Community outreach
Chelan High School
Lake Chelan School District
Western Washington University, Master of Education (Secondary Mathematics), 1994
University of Washington, Bachelor of Science (Computer Science), 1990
Tom is a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches math and physics and coaches girls’ basketball at Chelan High School. As a coach Tom emphasizes integrity and excellence. He teaches his players that they all have important contributions to make in the community and on the court, while maintaining a competitive program. This year (his first coaching), they finished 5th in the state.
Tom’s enthusiasm and approachable expertise can guide even the most reluctant student to amazing results. In his first year at Chelan, Tom had a junior in his Algebra 1 class who lacked confidence in her ability to pursue advanced mathematics. By the end of her senior year she had completed Calculus (that’s five math credits in two years). This fall, she’s off to college to pursue a career as a math teacher.
Tom is an energizing role model for his colleagues as well. Last year he piloted the district’s first Advanced Placement class – Statistics. Over the summer two of Tom’s colleagues at the high school also became certified to teach AP courses. When he arrived at Chelan two years ago, he was the only National Board Certified Teacher in the building. Since then nearly a dozen teachers have decided to pursue certification. At the state level, Tom was one of only eight teachers appointed to the Washington State Math Standards Review Team, and he currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession.
Describing Tom’s impact on their daughter’s life, one set of parents writes: “This individual directed her to rethink her capabilities as a student and helped her identify and develop her own personal strengths. She will tell you that because of his influence in her life she feels compelled to work harder and learn more, to find ways to serve others and to approach life with an outlook of positive expectation. Through his example her life and her perception of herself have been stretched and shaped in a very wonderful way. His name is Tom Robinson.”
Tom’s areas of expertise include: Advanced Placement, National Board
certification, Statewide math standards, Online learning, Teaching to multiple
intelligences, STEM, Authoring and publishing books