Teacher of the Year and Regional Winners
2020 Washington State Teacher of the Year
Washington State Teacher of the Year
Helen Baller Elementary
After earning her Master in Teaching, Amy realized her deep passion for supporting students with unique learning needs and returned to school for an endorsement in special education. She has been teaching at Helen Baller Elementary School for 12 years. In her position as a teacher of students with significant learning challenges, she collaborates with staff, parents, and community to develop individualized plans that focus on each student's unique skills, abilities, and interests to help them find their place among their peers in the school community. Amy does not live in a world of deficits. She lives and teaches a world of possibilities, potential, and opportunities.
Amy's belief that she can have a broader impact in the community calls her to be both a leader and a learner. She is an active participant in the Camas Special Education Leadership Team, helping to establish program norms and professional development opportunities for colleagues. She participates in Professional Learning Communities where she has developed her understanding of trauma-informed teaching and educating students who experience poverty. Amy's broad knowledge of state services and agencies enables her to connect families with outside supports. In her position as a liaison and advocate she models her belief that all children are "not yours, not mine, but ours."
Amy believes all children can learn, and to achieve her vision of academic success for all she implements innovative strategies geared to students' strengths. She develops ways, through collaboration with general education teachers, to integrate her students into their communities. She believes in the power of inclusion when everyone can participate in learning together and experience diversity as an asset. Amy's personal life mission is to change the way people view people with special needs and change the way people with special needs see themselves.
“I trust Amy with my son because she treats him with love and respect, as a dignified human being even when his behavior is less than dignified (which is frequently),” says parent Julie Hillyard. “The tragedy is that the academic successes celebrated in her classroom will never win a competition or be featured on a standardized test. But each of those victories represents a big miracle. I’m not sure there is a higher teaching calling than the one she has embraced and dedicated her lift to. I literally thank God for the role she has played in my life and that of my son.”
Regional Teacher of the Year
A G West Black Hills High School
Proudly teaching PE for over 23 years, Lisa Summers’ mission is to create and sustain physically literate students. With Lisa's strong and sound teaching practices, her students develop the knowledge and application of knowledge in many cognitive concepts that promote health, fitness, and appropriate training. They practice a variety of skills from sport, game, and fitness. Perhaps most importantly Lisa’s teaching strengthens behaviors that encourage sportspersonship, increases confidence and competence, helps students understand rules, empowers student relationships, and a maintains positive learning environment.
For Lisa, earning her National Board Certification in physical education was humbling and inspiring. She gained validation that she was accomplished in established teaching standards. In 2009, Lisa was named National Association Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance High School PE Teacher of the Year. This title afforded her the opportunity to present, speak, collaborate, and train at state, district, and national PE conferences. She was able to gain valuable resources, connections, and partnerships with other PE professionals. Because she saw an incredible need to improve formative and summative assessment not only in her classes but to other PE professionals, Lisa co-wrote and published a textbook, Meeting PE Standards Through Meaningful Assessments.
Mentoring her own former students in Physical Education career fields has been her most rewarding accomplishment. For Lisa, having students want to follow in her sneakers is the ultimate testament to her teaching practice. Lisa continues to develop her craft and improve her teaching methods. She incorporates new games, technology, and fitness trends to make sure that every student and every body can be successful both in an outside of her gym walls. As PE evolves, Lisa is excited to evolve as well and continue to instill a sense of physical literacy in future generations.
“She makes everyone in the room feel like they are a favorite,” says alumni and student teacher Whitney Lowe. “Her ability to never judge a student, player, or coworker and treat everyone with the same and equal respect was something that I admired and want to strive to be one day. When you say the name Lisa Summers everyone knows who you are talking about in this town, and everyone’s response is ‘I don’t know how she does it. She is amazing.’ That, to me, is what I wanted to be; the person that when people say my name, they know me as hardworking, confident, nonjudgmental, and the type of person who doesn’t settle for average.”
Regional Teacher of the Year
Analisa McCann has been a first-grade teacher at Broadway Elementary since 2013 where 75 percent of students qualify for free/reduced meals. She commutes an hour each way because of her commitment to students and families. She is a quiet leader on the school's Leadership Team and Wellness Committee as well as the facilitator for the new ELA curriculum. She has mentored over 12 Gonzaga practicum students and two student teachers.
Analisa is often one of the first to arrive at Broadway. She connects with students at breakfast and warmly greets them at her door with a hug. From the moment they enter her classroom, children are actively engaged in rigorous learning. She uses a gradual release of responsibility while instructing whole groups, small groups, and individuals. Anchor charts, work examples, and expectations are posted to scaffold independent learning at every level. Student work is proudly displayed, and at the end of the day, children call home to share successes while the class cheers. There's a genuine sense of community, cooperation, and respect.
Analisa implemented the "Readiness to Learn" initiative addressing childhood trauma. Spearheading the program, she created lessons for teachers to help ensure students are "learning ready" and welcomes colleagues to visit her class for ideas. She developed a brain game for caregivers to help their child be learning ready. As a result, punitive punishments have decreased, student self-regulation has increased, and the exit strategy has reduced.
Analisa coaches cross-country, hosts after-school classes for children, attends her students' weekend activities, volunteers at PTO events, and attends professional development classes and book studies. Analisa says teaching is her dream vocation because being with students is where she feels most complete.
“Since my daughter Gracie was in kindergarten I have volunteered an hour a week in her classroom, so I have now five years’ worth of experience watching every teacher she has ever had, and she’s had some very good ones. Ms. McCann is the very best of the bunch,” says parent Dave Skeels. “You would probably have to see it to believe it, but Ms. McCann can control a classroom with one eyebrow. She is the best teacher I have ever seen at class management. Students knew what was expected of them and would do it. Boundaries were clear. If a student strayed across the line, the eyebrow would come up and they would get back on the right side . . . Ms. McCann cares so much about the kids beyond the school walls. The summer after Gracie was in her first-grade class, she was going through a phase where she thought no one like her. Gracie’s birthday is in August, and only one of the kids we invited to the party showed up. I felt very sad and helpless as a parent. Can you guess who showed up to save the day? Ms. McCann came to her birthday party!”
Regional Teacher of the Year
Glacier Peak High School
Tami is a science instructor at Glacier Peak High School in the Snohomish School District. Her career in education has spanned a multitude of grade levels, subjects, and years.
Tami has designed and implemented a variety of science programs for the district ranging from forensic science to biotechnology. She currently teaches Biology, Molecular Biology for Global Health, and Advanced Molecular Biology for Global Health. She has received both the Amgen Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and the WASA Region 209 Outstanding Student Achievement Leadership Award. She is also a Murdock Fellow which allowed her to work for several summers at the Institute for Systems Biology on the TCGA project and Project Feed 1010. Tami served as a district mentor for many years, was part of the building leadership cohort, and has been the adviser for two clubs, One Voice and STEM Club.
Compassion, connections, and creativity are the vital ingredients in Tami’s classroom. She is a firm believer that the questions are more important than the answers, and often in real, rigorous, and relevant science, there may not yet be an answer. Tami also works to get students to take responsibility for their own learning, to follow their creative and curious instincts, and to realize that science is about persistence more than brilliance. She encourages connections, collaboration and works to sincerely know each of her students.
Tami has worked diligently to leverage her own connections and experiences to help her integrate the scientific community into her classroom. Several professional development programs have allowed her to explore and experience science from a different perspective. This in turn has enabled her to authentically mentor students. Opportunities provided by the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, CDC, Institute for Systems Biology, and Murdock Foundation have afforded professional development opportunities that she has been able to pass forward to her students.
“During my three years in Mrs. Caraballo’s biology and global health classrooms, I have been challenged to ask harder questions, encouraged to work in collaboration with my peers to dissect important issues, and inspired to further my education and enhance my global perspective,” says student Emily Foley. “Under her supervision, I have been able to have first-hand exposure to her compassionate, selfless character and her endless determination to do what is best for every student in her classroom. Mrs. Caraballo is passionate about her craft, consistently demonstrates an attitude of integrity and welcomes all students with joy, acceptance, and warmth.”
Regional Teacher of the Year
Rebecca Estock is an intervention and language support specialist at Connell Elementary. Her responsibilities broadly reach over 60 percent of the 580+ students attending the rural school.
Rebecca organizes all reading intervention programs from kindergarten through 6th grade, trains a minimum of 20 paraeducators, and maintains weekly training sessions focused on excellence in instruction. She engages in professional learning communities with the certified classroom teachers and co-directs the response to intervention school-wide plan with the support of the school principal. For students that require extra support to meet grade level standards, Rebecca organizes and manages before school, after school, and summer school programs.
In addition to the support programs and interventions, Rebecca also has a busy teaching schedule. She believes that effective teaching involves many pieces. She utilizes multi-sensory methods and strategies to build language and cognitive skill. Rebecca has built a classroom that invites learning and respects the unique process that each student journeys through. Rebecca is a strong advocate for student growth and has deep interest in helping students be successful. She is a compassionate and powerful resource for students and families that need support in school. She provides training at Parent Advocate Meetings for bilingual families, is Nationally Board Certified with an emphasis in Exceptional Needs, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is trained as a Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) leader. She has been involved in school implementation of PBIS and created the school-wide Response to Intervention implementation plan. Rebecca has been involved in district curriculum adoption committees for math, reading, and science.
Students at Connell Elementary see daily the commitment that Rebecca has for every learner and subsequently they have a deeper desire to be their best. Teachers express heartfelt gratitude for the effort and expertise she puts forth in everything that she does.
“Alongside an impressive resume, Rebecca possesses a skill that cannot always be learned,” says Principal Amy Garza. “She has the innate ability to love her students unconditionally despite the challenges they may present. She is a positive and calming voice when they are upset, a warm hug when they are sad, and a big high five when they make growth – even if it is minimal. She works endlessly to provide the students of our school with the support they need to be successful both academically and social emotionally.”
Regional Teacher of the Year
Chinook Middle School
Reid Sundblad teaches 8th grade physical education at his alma mater, Chinook Middle School, in SeaTac. Returning to the community he grew up in, Reid works tirelessly to instill in his students the importance of lifelong health and wellness, all while having fun doing so.
In addition to his classroom responsibilities, Reid also coaches track and field and cross country, runs an afterschool weight training club in the off seasons, and is the founder and mentor of a boys group, Los Siete. For his efforts, both in and out of the classroom, Reid has received numerous accolades from various local organizations, and well as media attention for his work. He was named a "Hero in the Classroom" by the Seattle Seahawks in 2016 and was named outstanding Teacher of the Year by the Highline Schools Foundation in 2018. He has been featured on local television news stations, and was the feature for a story on KUOW, all for his work with Los Siete.
Outside of the classroom, Reid serves as Chinook's health and physical education department chair; as Instructional Leadership Team member; as a PBIS team member; and on his district's secondary leadership team for physical education and health.
Reid's approach to teaching centers on building meaningful relationships that last well beyond the two years he teaches students at the middle school level. Every other week, Reid spends his planning period at the local high school where he continues his mentoring relationships with students to help ensure their success in high school. He works hard to ensure that both his past and present students are heard, valued, and respected, and that they achieve their educational and personal goals.
“Mr. Sundblad has changed the identity of a school and impacted the lives of every student that he has been able to reach,” says former student Andrew Sanford. “Chinook Middle School is a place that has reaped the benefits of having a once in a lifetime teacher who goes above and beyond in every way possible to use his resources to offer experiences to students who, without having him in their lives, would sadly maybe never get to have. In my opinion a teacher is measured on the impacts they have on their students’ lives, and Sundblad has changed the lives of many. Chinook Middle School caught lighting in a bottle with Mr. Sundblad, and any student who has the privilege to have their lives touched by him will be greater students and people.”
Regional Teacher of the Year
Granger High School
Stephanie King teaches English at Granger High School, a school labeled challenging due to its high rate of poverty. She has served students, families, and community members that are immigrants, migrants, English learners, homeless, and future first generation college graduates. She currently coaches varsity and middle school girls' soccer and recently brought Knowledge Bowl to Granger. Stephanie was the first teacher in her building to bring college in the high school when she was approved by the University of Washington to teach English 131 and 111. Just these two courses have already led to nearly 100 students establishing college transcripts.
Stephanie works extensively outside of the halls of Granger to better the education of all students within the state of Washington. Her work with the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges has allowed her the opportunity to travel around the state to work with the Bridge to College program as a Course Leader. She has developed curriculum that was a direct result of her own students needing materials relevant to their experiences as migrant field workers in rural, eastern Washington. These materials were then made available to all instructors of the Bridge program throughout the state. This work ultimately resulted in a presentation at the National Council of Teachers of English National Convention in 2017 in Missouri.
Stephanie comes from a family of educators and looks to her parents for inspiration. She believes in the concept that every student is a lifelong learner and that education comes secondary to relationships. Every Monday she asks her students about their weekends to learn about their successes and struggles. This leads to trust and belonging in her classroom. She stays involved with the community by volunteering with different civic organizations, hosting legislators in her classroom, and working with parent groups to assist with fundraising.
“Stephanie’s work with students exemplifies the best that the teaching profession has to offer,” says Principal Michael Carlson. “This is evident in her efforts toward continual professional improvement, tirelessly striving for excellence for herself and her students. Our school and community are more unified by the efforts of Stephanie King. She is involved in local festivals, supporting a youth recreation program for the town, and partnering with the local historical society to include student created family histories for all to read. Stephanie developed and founded Granger High School’s first Knowledge Bowl team . . . The greater impact was the message to our students that they belong in this level of academic competition. With her actions, she shows that today’s youth are worth the risks and sacrifice from their mentors.”
Kathryn Lebuis Hartman
Regional Teacher of the Year
Kathryn Hartman teaches intermediate elementary students at Roosevelt Elementary in Port Angeles. She is the building facilitator for her school's Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) team and coaches 5th and 6th grade Math Olympiad Team students. She is a member of her building's technology team supporting teachers and their technological needs. Additionally, she tutors students after school in order to help them meet grade-level standards.
Kathryn is a teacher leader serving on both school and district committees and task forces. In this role, she leads staff book studies and staff trainings, is part of the instructional leadership team, and acts as stand-in administrator. Furthermore, she facilitates district trainings, sharing her technological skills and knowledge. Kathryn currently serves or recently served as a member of the math committee, the technology committee, the reading literacy committee, and the highly capable committee.
Kathryn created and directed a school-based mentoring program for at-risk kids in a rural setting. She worked within the community to create a partnership between the school and the general public in order to bring an awareness of the importance of mentoring students. As secretary for both the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Association, she further supported the community.
Kathryn believes all students deserve respect and should have the ability learn in a safe, supportive, and caring community. She feels communication between the home and school is key to the success of the child. She strives to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of all students. In order to facilitate this, Kathryn provides an environment where whole group, individual, and small group instruction provide solid academic foundations for every member of her learning community.
“Mrs. Hartman has been a big part of my son’s success this year,” says parent Angela Loushin. My son had struggled with writing throughout his school years. His way of solving the problem was to avoid it altogether. Kathy Harman showed patience and understanding, which helped my son improve his writing skills. Her kind heart and determination, as a teacher, continue to encourage my son to write more often . . . Kathy Hartman has also challenged my son on his strengths. Jake says ‘Mrs. Hartman gave me a 6th-grade book to challenge me. I can read above a 4th-grade level. She also makes reading fun. She does read-in days. We get to build forts and read with our friends. I love fractions now, because she taught them to me in a fun way. I like to raise my hand to answer questions. I didn’t used to like to do that. She is the best teacher.’”
Regional Teacher of the Year
Cascade High School
Malia Renner-Singer teaches Social Studies and AVID to 9–12 grade students at Cascade High School in Leavenworth, Washington. She is a passionate advocate for students, particularly those who have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Her work as a teacher draws upon her experiences teaching in high schools both large and small in three different districts in Eastern Washington.
Malia believes that authentic learning comes from active engagement by students. She implemented Project Citizen at the 12th-grade level in two different high schools, Wenatchee High School and Cascade. Because of her work, hundreds of students researched a problem in their school, community, or state each year, developed public policy solutions to these problems, and advocated for their solutions directly with policy makers. In recognition of this achievement, Malia was named the Washington State Civic Educator of the Year in 2014 by the Washington State Legislature.
Malia's enthusiasm for teaching becomes most apparent when she is discussing the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program and her AVID students. She is responsible for the implementation of AVID at Cascade High School, collaborating with stakeholders to build a program that directly supports students who will be first-generation college students, have financial need, and/or learned English as a second language. In 2019, Cascade graduated its second class of AVID 12th graders. Her students have been recognized by both the Alexander Hamilton Scholars and the Dell Scholars programs and have been accepted by every 4-year public university in Washington state, as well as private schools such as Gonzaga, Carleton, and Santa Clara. Malia understands that the secret to the success of this effort comes from holding high expectations and helping students believe they can reach these expectations. Malia also serves as an AVID consultant, providing professional development to districts throughout Eastern Washington.
“Mrs. Renner-Singer has created an environment in which her students care about each other and want to see each other succeed,” says student Kelsea Turner. “In doing this, she is able to promote confidence in her students. I’ve personally experienced it myself. When I’ve had no one else in my corner, Mrs. Renner-Singer has been the one I know I can turn to. When I have good news, I know that, if no one else, Mrs. Renner-Singer will have that proud look in her eye and congratulate me on my achievements . . . I couldn’t ask for a better teacher. She has made it possible for me to attend college next year, helped me get accepted into Swarthmore – a college with only an 11% acceptance rate – and has helped me figure out how to pay for it.”