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Education Awards

2011 Teacher of the Year

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Jay Maebori
Language Arts Teacher
Puget Sound ESD 121 Regional Teacher of the Year
Kent School District
Kentwood High School
Seattle Pacific University, Master of Arts (Teaching), 2003
University of Washington, Bachelor of Arts (Communications), 1994

Jay began his professional life as a sports journalist. But since 2001, Jay has taught language arts to sophomores at Kentwood High School. He is a National Board Certified Teacher.

Jay teaches in a blended honors classroom where honors, ELL, special education and core students all partake of a rigorous and scholarly curriculum that he enriches with seminars and literary circles. Jay also teaches the intervention courses at Kentwood which targets students who have already failed to meet standard on statewide assessments. Eighty percent of the intervention students who have Jay go on to meet standard.

Jay is an incredibly reflective practitioner who is constantly in the process of assessing his own work as well as the work of his students. Jay's curriculum is alive with relevancy as he ties complicated literary themes such as 'the mask' to popular films and music and gives students choice in selecting reading materials. Jay is a natural collaborator.

Jay's experience observing and reporting on successful athletes and teams has given him a unique perspective on the symbiotic nature of the education team. He strongly believes the greatest success is achieved for students when teachers and parents work in tandem to support and encourage student learning. Parents appreciate his weekly e-newsletter, and he works with colleagues to develop their own parent communication plans.

Jay approaches the work of educating future citizens with a reverence that inspires colleagues and parents alike. He describes the simple practice of listening to students as the key to success in the classroom.

Assistant Principal Joseph Potts praises Jay saying: "He has a track record of success and his level of 'grit,' defined here as perseverance and passion for long-term goals, is unparalleled in our school . . . What makes a great teacher? Ask his students or observe Jay Maebori teach; either way, you'll know the answer."

2011 Regional Teachers of the Year

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ESD 101
Jeffery Wehr
Science Teacher
ESD 101 Regional Teacher of the Year
Odessa School District
Odessa High School
Montana State University, Master of Science (Science Education), 2003
University of Montana, Bachelor of Arts (Zoological Sciences), 1992
& (Environmental Sciences), 1996

Jeff is THE science teacher at Odessa High School, where he focuses not on teaching science, but on creating scientists. Jeff believes that students should live their education and be able to connect what they are learning to the world around them. This philosophy has paid off at Odessa High where 87% of high school students met standard in 2009 and many students go on to successful study in science at college.

The best example of Jeff's teaching philosophy in action is the Advanced Scientific Research (or ASR) course he created at Odessa. Students enrolled in ASR work on a year-long independent study in any scientific discipline where they formulate and test a hypothesis and analyze the outcomes. Jeff's ASR students write journal articles, create presentations for the community and compete at the state and national level.

In addition to teaching at the high school, Jeff works with elementary teachers online and in person to strengthen their science skills and make them more comfortable using inquiry-based science and the scientific method. The result is that more students are now meeting standard at the elementary and junior high level.

Jeff recognizes the value of collaboration across districts as well. He hosts a Bi-County Science Challenge where student teams from across the area compete in a "Junkyard Wars" style science collaboration. This event also serves as an excellent networking opportunity for science teachers scattered across the rural area.

Most impressive is the testimony of his student, Jessica: "[Mr. Wehr's] energy and enthusiasm for teaching help him connect with his students making learning fun. He pairs hands-on labs with class discussions, which incorporates every student in the class giving us all the ability to express our thoughts and ideas and work together for one common goal . . . He has given unlimited help, support, time, and dedication to all of his classes which, in turn, has created very successful scientists and individuals."


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ESD 105
Tracey Schepman
2nd Grade Teacher
ESD 105 Regional Teacher of the Year
Ellensburg School District
Valley View Elementary
Central Washington University, Master of Arts (Reading), 1994
University of Maine – Farmington, Bachelor of Science (Elementary and Special Education), 1979

Tracey teaches in Ellensburg where she began as a special education teacher and for the past six years has taught second grade. She is a lifelong learner whose enthusiasm for the craft of teaching has only increased over her 17 years in Ellensburg.

Described by her colleagues as the "go to" person for anything creative (from holiday programs to classroom management strategies), Tracey is also resourceful when it comes to finding funds for projects. She recently secured grants to fund technology improvements and training, professional development in writing and field trips. When the PTA found extra money in its budget, Tracey was quick to coordinate a project that would make a significant impact in the classrooms of Valley View – mounting projectors to the ceilings.

In addition to serving for seven years as an adjunct instructor for Central Washington University's special education department, Tracey has also hosted practicum and student teachers in her classroom.

Tracey is passionate about collaboration. Every new professional development opportunity she acquires quickly becomes a resource for her entire school. She is also an active member of the Valley View PTA and sits on the Board of Directors for the Kittitas County Head Start.

In Tracey's classroom, fairness and attention to the individual needs of students combine to create independent learners. She masterfully provides each student with the exact resource or support he or she needs while unobtrusively redirecting the fidgeter in the last row or the daydreamer in the back corner. Because they feel valued as individuals, Tracey's students have the confidence to explore creative solutions and think critically.

As one grateful parent observes: "Tracey has an amazing way of seeing each child as an individual with specific needs and strengths, and then addressing those with her creative teaching style. My children are quirky, and Tracey embraced those quirks instead of viewing them as hurdles."


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EESD 112
Brian Eggleston
Spanish Teacher
ESD 112 Regional Teacher of the Year
Washougal School District
Washougal High School
The Evergreen State College, Master in Teaching, 2005
University of Colorado – Boulder, Bachelor of Arts, 1996

Brian teaches Spanish and is the department chair for foreign languages at Washougal High School. In the five years since Brian's arrival the number of Spanish classes has nearly doubled, more students are enrolling in advanced Spanish and the school has had to add another Spanish teacher.

As a young adult, Brian traveled extensively throughout Latin America and, in his words, fell in love with the language and customs of the Spanish speaking world. Today he strives to replicate that immersion experience in his classroom by integrating cultural studies, music, art and socio-economics into the practical work of reading, writing and speaking Spanish.

Brian's fluency in Spanish makes him a resource for his entire school. He routinely makes phone calls on behalf of colleagues and translates for parent-teacher conferences with Spanish speaking families.

Brian believes strongly in hands-on engagement in the classroom. A visitor to his classroom will see students practice their language skills through active storytelling, discussion, games and more. Brian encourages his students to practice their Spanish at home and invite their families to cultural events such as Salsa dancing and Dia de los Muertos. His students also create original children's books in Spanish that are used at a local elementary school.

His colleagues observe that Brian's comfortable, joking demeanor instantly puts students at ease. His classroom feels casual and relaxed, but is centered on lessons that are crafted with the precision of an architect to both engage students while simultaneously assessing their progress.

Assistant Superintendent, Rebecca Miner praises him: "Brian's contributions in the classroom, school and district are remarkable. It is sometimes said that teaching is a combination of art and science, and Brian is a teacher whose artistry make the science of teaching a pleasure to observe. His students richly benefit from his talents."


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ESD 113
Carrie Black
Mathematics and Leadership Teacher
ESD 113 Regional Teacher of the Year
Rochester School District
Rochester Middle School
Walden University, Master of Science (Middle Level Mathematics), 2009
City University, Bachelor of Arts (Elementary Education), 2005

Carrie teaches math, algebra and leadership at Rochester Middle School. Nearly 70% of all 8th graders at her school will have Carrie for math, and they will all hear her mantra: "It's never too late to love math!"

Since her arrival four years ago the number of 8th graders meeting standard on statewide assessments has doubled. Carrie works tirelessly with her team and math coach to develop innovative methods and utilize new technologies in the classroom. Last year she started an after school math club (regular attendance was 25 kids) and the math team entered both regional and national competitions. Since her algebra class counts for a high school credit, she also works closely with the high school math department.

As the ASB advisor of just three years, Carrie has built a cadre of school leaders who model compassion for students at the middle school and service to the community outside of their school. From school levies and food drives to charity walks and holiday meals – Carrie's leadership students are just about the most active volunteers in their community!

Carrie is passionate about developing a culture of respect and empathy in her school and to combat the often devastating effects of bullying. She has coordinated an anti-bullying campaign and is developing lessons for advisory focused on nurturing positive behavior.

Carrie's dedication to her students and the craft of teaching is an inspiration to many. Colleagues marvel at her overnight leadership retreat that begins on the last day of school and often credit her with rekindling their love of teaching. Parents praise her as an exceptional role model, especially for girls who are ready to love math.

As her colleague, Beth Wilson, observes, Carrie is transformative: "She is highly intelligent and insightful. She sees things as a whole system and grasps how every stakeholder will be affected while the rest of us are still grappling with the idea. She is resourceful and connected to people who can help, and she finds a way to make anything of value to our students and school happen despite the obstacles . . . the best and the brightest of our staff seek Carrie's input and perspective on projects, and she somehow makes them believe they can do even more than when they sought her out."


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ESD 114
Melissa McBride
Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher
Olympic ESD 114 Regional Teacher of the Year
Port Angeles School District
Stevens Middle School
University of Idaho, Master of Arts (Teaching Writing), 2002
University of Idaho, Bachelor of Science (Education - Secondary English), 2000

Melissa has taught 7th grade Language arts and social studies at Stevens since 2002 where her classes include high need, high risk and highly capable students.

Melissa approaches teaching as a multi-sensory endeavor. Her classroom is alive with colors, wall hangings and other decorations, and her curriculum is equally engaging. Creating their own board games and writing children's books keep Melissa's students invested in their learning and having fun.

Melissa embraces the challenges in education today as opportunities for evolution. The year after she arrived at Stevens, Melissa and a group of colleagues spent the year investigating the concept of Continuous School Improvement. The next year Melissa applied what she learned to help created a standards based calendar for her school in reading and writing. She seeks out opportunities to explore new techniques and curriculum models, and returns to Stevens and her colleagues brimming with resources and enthusiasm.

Melissa sees language arts as a bridge between the many different subjects that students must master. Communication and critical thinking, she argues, are essential skills in any discipline, and students need to know how to use them. Melissa is also passionate about empowering students to become leaders. Last year she nominated a small group of students to attend a national leadership conference in Washington DC and worked with them throughout the year to make this dream a reality.

For all of Melissa's 7th graders, her classes are captivating. She expertly weaves content and experiences together to create an environment where students see connections between literature and their own lives, where they learn that they have the power to change the world and where they can't resist learning.

One student reflects on Melissa's impact on her life: "She's more than a teacher. I'll always look up to her, seeing her as one of the people who have influenced me in my life – and I'll always look back on my seventh grade year and think of how lucky I was to be able to experience all that I did, thanks to Mrs. McBride."


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ESD 123
John Kerr
Bilingual Science Teacher
ESD 123 Regional Teacher of the Year
Pasco School District
Pasco High School
Washington State University, Bachelor of Science (Physical Science), 2003

John has taught bilingual science at Pasco High School for the past 6 years. He is a National Board Certified Teacher. John exhibits a tangible excitement for science that colleagues and students describe as contagious. On any given day you will find John narrating stories, teaching his students a new rap song or demonstrating a life-sized hovercraft.

John is in the enviable position of having a teaching assignment that capitalizes his love for both science and Spanish, and he works tirelessly to achieve that perfect balance between the two. He is a Guided Language Acquisition Design or GLAD Key Trainer and works with teachers in his building and around the district to help them learn and utilize strategies for working with English language learners.

John has also developed a parallel science curriculum in English and Spanish that is equally rigorous. John is a powerful advocate for ELL students especially recent immigrants. He works hard to remind the public that his students are often excellent readers in Spanish, to promote the many capabilities of students who are learning English and to provide a thrilling science education for.

John leads the freshman team, but because he takes a holistic approach to education he also works with teachers in other departments to develop common strategies across content areas. John's approach to grading is equally holistic. His focus on mastery of content – using rubrics based on state standards instead of accumulated points – helps struggling students map their progress and encourages advanced students to undertake more challenging study.

John's principal, Raul Sital, simply states: "His passion for education is catching. His teaching strategies are unrivaled, and his classroom is a place of wonder."


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ESD 171
Ron Scutt
Lead Teacher
North Central ESD 171 Regional Teacher of the Year
Stehekin School
Shippensburg University, Master of Science (College Counseling), 1972
Shippensburg University, Bachelor of Elementary Education, 1969

Ron teaches 1st – 8th grade at the Stehekin School; a position he has held for the past 34 years.

Because Stehekin is a one room school, Ron has become a master at creating thematic interdisciplinary units that engage all of his students' senses and keep them engaged over a period of years – a student who enters 1st grade at Stehekin will be in Ron's ‘class' for eight years.

After 34 years, Ron's pure joy in his work is undiminished.Visitors to Stehekin School have the rare opportunity to observe students at multiple levels working together around a particular subject or theme. Young students are encouraged as they read aloud their first poem by older students who are learning to become compassionate leaders.

Ron is widely respected as an expert in implementing developmentally appropriate classroom activity. He believes strongly in "teaching to the hands and feet," as they say in Stehekin, and is passionate about incorporating artistic and physical activity into the more traditional academic disciplines. Knitting, calligraphy and even juggling are seamless woven into the school day at Stehekin as Ron carefully gauges the intellectual development of each student and provides them with tactile activities to support their own maturation process.

Ron has embraced the gifts of his remote community. He is the editor and publisher of the local newpaper, president of the Stehekin Heritage organization and emcee for Stehekin's annual Trillium Festival. Outside of Stehekin, Ron spent 8 years on the Professional Educator Standards board (he was an inaugural member) and has traveled the country to teach other educators lessons he has learned about education, children and community in Stehekin. Lessons that transcend his small community.

Like Stehekin, Ron is an original. His former ESD Superintendent Gene Sharratt confirms: "There is only one Ron. Ron is a model of teaching excellence and exceptional classroom instruction. It has been my personal and professional privilege to observe Ron over the past two decades. He continually reaffirms my respect for the power of learning and the significance of exemplary classroom teaching. His impact on students is immediate, his legacy profound."


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ESD 189
Jo Anne Buiteweg
English Teacher
Northwest ESD 189 Regional Teacher of the Year
Everett School District
Sequoia High School
University of Washington, Master of Education (Language Arts), 1994
Michigan State University, Bachelor of Arts (English Education), 1989

Jo Anne has worked in Everett Public Schools for the past 20 years as a teacher and specialist. In 2007 she joined the staff at Sequoia, an alternative high school. She is a National Board Certified Teacher.

Jo Anne has always had a heart for students on the fringes of education, and in the early 90s was part of a team of educators at Everett High School that used interdisciplinary study to target students who were statistically "at risk." Today, she has found a home at Sequoia where the emphasis is placed on skill mastery and student choice and the faculty operates as a collaborative whole rather than a group of isolated individuals.

These values are well aligned with Jo Anne's own educational philosophies. She is passionate about meaningful assessment and grading systems that measure competency and empower students to evaluate themselves. Although Jo Anne has goals for her students' achievement, she also works hard to balance what she knows they need with their own ambitions and mixes in just the right amount of emotional support that her students need to encourage academic risk taking.

The result is a uniquely thoughtful and refreshingly honest student teacher relationship. Because Jo Anne's students know that she cares deeply not only for them, but for the adults they will become they actively seek out her critical feedback and she is able to be unflinchingly honest about their accomplishments.

Jo Anne is an exemplary teacher leader with a deep knowledge of school reform and the ability to guide her colleagues through difficult educational shifts such as "grading for learning" and the high school culminating exhibit with ease. At Sequoia, Jo Anne has guided the staff through a peer review of teaching units that has taken their professional development to the next level. All of these efforts are underpinned by Jo Anne's conviction that the practice of education is in the public sphere and should be made transparent to the whole community.

Her colleague, Kevin Corbett, summarizes: "Jo Anne's passion for teaching is surpassed only by the character and integrity she brings to the profession. As an exceptional teacher, leader and community representative, she not only possesses – she LIVES, the requirements for Teacher of the Year."


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Washington Tribal Schools
Abigail Chandler
Instructional Coach
Washington Tribal Schools Regional Teacher of the Year
Chief Leschi School
Antioch University, Master of Arts (Education), 1999
Pacific Lutheran University, Master of Arts (Education), 1994

Abigail has taught in the elementary school at Leschi for 16 years as kindergarten and 2nd grade teacher and more recently as the Instructional Coach for reading.

In 2003 Abigail co-wrote and was awarded a six-year Reading First grant for Chief Leschi through the Bureau of Indian Education. Abigail moved into the role of grant manager and instructional coach and began the process of transforming reading instruction at the elementary level. Although this represented a major cultural and educational shift for the school, Abigail's sense of urgency and encouragement were irresistible. Now, as a new class of grant recipients begins the process, Abigail has been tapped as national resource.

Whether with students, colleagues or parents, Abigail put relationships first. Abigail has made a lasting commitment to the students and families of Leschi and the Puyallup Tribe, by immersing herself and her family in the community. Students and families see Abigail at sporting events, powwows, weddings and funerals and they know she is reliable – that Leschi is not a temporary home for her. In addition to her duties as an instructional coach, Abigail hosts weekly events for parents at the school and facilitates a community group that is coordinating birth to 5 services. Now, Abigail is honored with a new responsibility as her former students, bring their children to the preschool at Leschi and ask her to "keep an eye out for them." 

Her skill at relationship building combined with an infectious confidence that seems to rub off on those around her, are what make Abigail such a successful instructional coach. Despite her high standards and frank observations, struggling teachers do not feel threatened by Abigail.

For Abigail the ability to dream, explore and escape that reading provides is the greatest gift she can give. She has transitioned to the role of instructional coach, but Abigail sees the entire elementary school as her class – all 460 of them! She still experiences that pure joy of teaching a child to read that she did in her kindergarten classroom.

Her colleague and fellow instructional coach, Jill Hartley, praises Abigail: "She is one of the most amazing educators I have ever met . . . She has committed her life to improving and impacting the way Native American children and their families view education with complete cultural competency. She is passionate for education and compassionate for students. She is truly a gift."


   Updated 9/18/2012

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