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Education Awards

Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award
Washington's Milken Educators


Ryan Lafferty
10 – 12 grade science
International School
Bellevue School District
Seattle University, MiT, 2010
University of Washington, BS, 2008

Ryan Lafferty instills in his students the love and relevance of physics to everyday life. Through Lafferty’s project-based approach, connectivity of curriculum to math, history and the arts as well as a can-do attitude, students are captivated by his lessons with some inspired to go into physics careers themselves.

Many of Lafferty’s classroom practices stem from his work with the Bellevue School District, University of Washington and the George Lucas Educational Foundation to develop a problem-based curriculum for AP Physics with the hopes of it becoming implemented nationally. Students do everything from building Roman arches, projectile instruments such as slingshots and catapults, and a Diddley bow (single-string instrument). The Diddley bow project was done in conjunction with the history and arts departments. Students built the instruments in art, studied the impact of tension on sound in physics and learned to play them in music. Another project was a “crash scene investigators” unit in which students analyzed what happened in a crash based on physics.

It’s no surprise that Lafferty’s classes are in demand. His AP classes are offered every year, with students producing high pass rates on the AP exam and district assessments. Accelerated students have become student teachers in his class, furthering Lafferty’s ability to help everyone excel.

Lafferty’s dedication to student success extends beyond his classroom. Known on campus as a natural leader, he goes the distance to guide struggling students in other classrooms and is regularly on hand to help colleagues meet students’ needs. He engages all students with a yearly video game design focus week, during which he brings in a colleague, parents, alumni and industry leaders from Microsoft to participate. All school staff members showed their general appreciation for Lafferty by dressing up as him for Halloween.

Lafferty is a National Honors Society advisor, serves on the school’s middle and high science clubs and travels to the state science bowl. Lafferty is also committed to enhancing social emotional learning, interdepartmental collaboration and professional communication.


Karen Krantz
Adams Elementary School

Karen Krantz transforms the lives of her students at Adams Elementary School by creating a culture of excellence and academic rigor that raises achievement. When Krantz moved to fifth grade, science scores on the Washington State Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) increased from 25% to 75% in two years. An impressive 90% of Krantz’s own classroom students met the standard. After taking her talents to sixth grade, 85% of Adams Elementary’s students met the standards in both math and reading. These examples spanning a diversity of subjects are reflective of Krantz’s effective teaching practices with her own students and her influence on the entire faculty as a teacher leader.

Equally well-known for being enthusiastic, engaged and caring, Krantz’s lessons are varied and interactive. She has extraordinary success at involving all of her students, regardless of their degree of readiness when they arrive in her class. In fact, challenging or at-risk students are often purposely placed in her classroom where her methods and demeanor have proven to provide the right environment for these students to rise to their potential, and her students are often sought out for leadership roles on campus. She is deliberate about getting to know her students as learners and as people; students and their families know that she believes in their abilities and will support them in any way necessary.

Krantz is both a campus and Spokane Public Schools leader in expanding effective, thorough teaching practices. Whether creating downloadable math lessons for Smartboards, mentoring new teachers, or working with the district to incorporate more scientific concepts into elementary classes, Krantz is tireless in her pursuit of excellence on behalf of all students.

A role model for students and educators, Krantz’s dedication and hard work reflect the high expectations that she sets for her students. Their engagement, test scores and admiration are testament to her exceptional success.

Photos and Contact Information


Nathan Gibbs-Bowling
Lincoln Center at Lincoln High School

Nathan Gibbs-Bowling has taught Social Studies at Lincoln Center for the past 6 years. He is widely regarded as the most demanding teacher at the school. Colleagues credit the high-level academic environment in his classroom with encouraging creative thinking and empowering students to reach their full potential.

A hallmark of Gibbs-Bowlings’s instruction is the absolute engagement of students and families. “In my 20 years in education I’ve never seen anyone better than him. I can walk into his classroom anytime, any day and students are totally engaged,” says Principal Greg Eisnaugle. Gibbs-Bowling has worked hard to engage parents equally. Parents know they can contact him about anything. They have direct access to him through Google Voice, and they know when Mr. Gibbs-Bowling calls, it’s important.

For students, the key to this engagement is a perfect combination of rigor, respect and innovation. Students can’t come into Gibbs-Bowling’s classroom unless they have completed their homework assignment and they work to the bell. Colleague Jen Zamira describes him as a cross between a cheerleader, drill sergeant and college professor. “Everybody pretty much adores him. It's funny because he can be imposing physically, but he's got such a heart. While the kids know he's tough on them, they also know he'll take a bullet for them,” says Zamira.

In the classroom, students regularly experience exciting, hands-on curriculum. One popular feature is a re-enactment and re-arguing of significant Supreme Court decisions. Gibbs-Bowling is also passionate about his local roots in Tacoma and believes students should understand their local as well as national history. He has co-developed a Tacoma history curriculum, and is very active in his local community. Recently his church adopted the PTA of a local elementary school. He’s focused on creating adults who will come back and sustain and support their community.

Gibbs-Bowling has been an instrumental member of the Lincoln Center team and has presented around the country about the Lincoln Center model. He was also a founding member of Teachers United and currently sits on their Policy Advisory Council for Teacher Training. Even though he is relatively young in the profession, Gibbs-Bowling is considered a mentor teacher by all and regularly takes on student teachers from local colleges. Even more senior colleagues have benefited from his mastery of classroom management. Zamira describes him as an ideal colleague because “you know when you bounce ideas off of him you’re getting better yourself.”


Dan Alderson
Lake Stevens High School

Dan Alderson is a National Board Certified Teacher and a graduate of Gonzaga and City Universities. He began his professional career as a grocery store manager before he became a teacher and has taught at Lake Stevens High School for all of his 7 years in the profession.

From his role as a school and statewide leader and his impeccable instructional talent to his technology expertise and even his attire – in every way, Dan is the consummate professional and the colleague who will never let you down. As a professional mentor, Dan is outstanding. He regularly presents to the staff at Lake Stevens on subjects as varied as technology tools and better use of data. Dan also teaches Pro-cert for City University and is a Jumpstart leader. Even during his own candidacy for National Boards, Dan was frequently mentoring others in his cohort.

Dan digs deep into the data and isn’t afraid to confront difficult truths. When working with colleagues he demonstrates the invaluable skill of teaching adult learners something new without making them feel defensive by helping them to embrace what they don’t know. Recently, when a group of students were struggling to meet standard in social studies, Dan’s research uncovered that they were actually struggling readers. After that he was able to work with their parents and other teachers to get them on a plan to improve their reading.

Dan is an advocate for standards based grading in the purest sense. Instead of completing an identical set of assignments with fixed due dates, students in Dan’s class can demonstrate that they meet standard in a variety of ways and on their own timelines. This means that Dan basically provides about 150 different instructional plans – one for each student. Students of varying reading levels will work on the same concepts but with texts that are hand selected by Dan for their abilities.

Dan’s grade book remains essentially open for an entire unit as students are continuously meeting standard in a variety of ways. He has also worked closely with the district and parents to make sure parents can navigate this standards based approach and easily understand where their students are on the path towards meeting standard.

Teachers regularly report that Dan’s students arrive in their classrooms with excellent preparation and his students frequently produce the most impressive writing for the school’s award winning literary journal. Dan has worked tirelessly to help his colleagues develop classroom based assessments that give formative assessment data the school can use to adjust instruction on an ongoing basis. The results of this work are remarkable. Dan frequently has the highest percent of students meeting standard, and his former principal Ken Collins credits Dan’s work with helping the school bring its pass rate on the state assessment from 65% to 90% in reading and 68% to 95% in writing.

And though Dan is clearly driven by data, he understands that education is, at its core, about the individual story of each student. His commitment to that story is evident as he helps students examine their own lives for tales of heroism, as he walks beside a student who has failed as they make their way back to a place of pride and success and as he uses rap to coax poetry out of the most unlikely of students.

His colleagues Kati Tilley and Chris Neuman simply state, “Dan is just amazing,” and “He’s the best teacher I know. He’s one of a kind.”


Kelly Aramaki
John Stanford International School
Kelly Aramaki graduated from the Teachers College at Columbia University in 1999 and began teaching in Bellevue at Newport Heights Elementary. After completing the Danforth Educational Leadership Program at the University of Washington, Kelly was hired as the principal at Maywood Hills Elementary in Bothell. In 2007 he moved to John Stanford International School. Kelly is instructional leadership in action. He expertly coaches new teachers and administrators, mentors struggling educators and engages families while remaining completely accessible to and engaged with every student in his building.

Kelly is passionate about creating a school environment that celebrates the real world diversity in our communities. During his tenure at Maywood Hills he requested that the integrated special education program move to his school. When a tent city moved in next door to Maywood Hills, Kelly arranged for students to visit the site, interview the residents and explore the issues of homelessness and poverty from a new perspective. At John Stanford he has worked to connect Spanish immersion students with ELL students who are native Spanish speakers.

Kelly is uncompromising when it comes to establishing and enacting best practices for student success. He is also incredibly skilled at articulating his vision and supporting that vision with evidence while simultaneously opening up his own learning process for critical feedback. The result is an extraordinarily authentic approach to school administration where all stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in the discussion and teachers are empowered to leadership roles. At Maywood Hills, Kelly led the effort to transition the school to a model that used reader/writer workshop techniques to match students with texts that were at their reading level. As a result, more students remain in standard classrooms and ELL students move out of support services sooner. This technique is now the practice across the district.

Since his arrival at John Stanford, Kelly has worked with his teachers to help them embrace the collaboration and open critical feedback needed to take an already strong school to the next level, and the school has made significant progress. Kelly has also emerged as a champion for international education, and he has presented on the subject at national and international conferences.

Kelly is a student-focused administrator who acts as an exceptional role model for teachers, staff and the community. His leadership style is a combination of remarkable data analysis and astute observations tempered by sincere kindness and a deep respect for students, teachers and families. In his building and across the district, Kelly is admired for his commitment to all learners, his collaboration with teachers and his expert use of data and technology. Colleagues describe him a as courageous and hopeful leader whose contributions to district wide discussions and principals’ meetings create richer professional experiences for all participants.

“Kelly is just awesome!” says his former supervisor, Gloria Mitchell. “On any day of the week I would say that he is truly exceptional – not just as an educator, but also as a person.”


Kymberly Larson
Shaw Middle School
Larson received her B.A. in English and her teaching certification from Gonzaga University in Spokane. She has been the lead science teacher at Shaw Middle School for the past three years. Larson is described by colleagues as a "kid magnet" who is as focused on teaching to the individual student as she is on content. She is also committed to integrating writing and reading comprehension into her classroom. Students who aren't meeting standard in her class are assigned "reflective notebooks," which contain their work so they can see how their knowledge has increased. On her own time, she started a Homework Club to give parents a better understanding about their child's progress. The club meets after school hours so that working parents can attend. In five years, science test scores almost doubled in her class, from 23 percent to 43 percent. A key collaborator among teachers at Shaw, Larson was one of eight teachers who won the Spokane Public Schools Distinguished Educator Team Award. She helped develop implementation of the school's Navigation 101 grant, and she's involved in a district assessment team, which reviews science assessments and curricula. Larson's principal, Chris Lynch, wrote: "Kymberly Larson is the science teacher you would want your children or grandchildren to have. If female students would have had teachers like Kymberly 20 to 40 years ago, there would be no gap between men and women in the field of science."


Shannon Harvey
Cascade Elementary
As a principal, Shannon Harvey is a triple threat: highly skilled in assessment, instruction and professional support. She has mastered the art of utilizing both data and the human stories of students to drive instruction and resource management. Several years ago Harvey and the staff at Cascade Elementary began using a ‘data wall’ to monitor student progress and help determine the level of intervention needed for each individual student. Harvey’s enthusiastic leadership has motivated staff to deepen their commitment to professional development; attending book studies, engaging in ongoing professional dialogue and visiting one another’s classrooms to share best practices. Harvey recently led Cascade through the process to become a Title I School and organized the process to include teachers, paraeducators and parents. Harvey’s greatest strength is her dedication to individual students, staff and parents. She knows her students by name, and she knows how they are doing academically. She visits at least four of her teachers every week. She attends every PTA meeting, and has done pre-PTA meetings in various languages.


Erin Jones
Rogers High School
At 6 feet tall, Erin Jones stands out wherever she goes. But it’s her genuine compassion for students and her positive attitude that make this literacy coach at Rogers High School in Spokane such a dynamo. Her diverse upbringing has had a tremendous impact on her career. The daughter of educators, she was raised in The Netherlands and speaks Dutch, Spanish, French and English. Jones attended college in Pennsylvania at Bryn Mawr and has spent most of her career in diverse, low-income, urban schools across the country. Her rich life experience has created an instructional style that is both compassionate and fair, her colleagues say, and has inspired countless struggling students to greater achievement. From the start of her career, she has sought opportunities to tackle tough issues, such as poverty and institutional racism. Jones’ leadership on issues of race, ethnicity, cultural competence and economic gaps has provided a forum for student voices regarding school climate at Rogers High. Her work with the Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative, Ladies of Distinction (for young women of color), AVID (for first generation college students) and the Monday Morning Book Club has encouraged students to dream big and prepare for success in the workplace and on a college campus. Improvements in both instruction and outcomes since Jones joined the staff at Rogers have been especially noticeable in ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. In her first year at Rogers, Jones offered many professional development opportunities, led the middle school orientation and secured community support and funding for a wide variety of special programs.


Cassandra Baddeley
Thurgood Marshall Elementary School
When Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Seattle implemented a system of single-sex classrooms, fourth-grade teacher Cassandra Baddeley researched and incorporated instructional strategies into her all-girl classroom that have proven to be successful in teaching girls. Ms. Baddeley begins each year by making a special learning plan for each student, including goals for both remediation and acceleration. She and the school then align those needs with the state's grade-level expectations to help students reach academic standards. In 2003 and 2004, every one of her students met the standards on the state assessment in reading, and the district's value-added data analysis shows that her students achieve an average of two years' growth in her class. As a member of the school's Building-Level Team, Ms. Baddeley participates in the governance of the school, writing, presenting and implementing the school's transformation plan. Thanks to her effective instruction, the high-achieving girls in her classroom are building the foundation to become the accomplished women of tomorrow.

Lisa Stanton
Pioneer Elementary School
Third-grade teacher Lisa Stanton uses state-of-the-art technology, humor and current instructional strategies to keep the joy of learning alive at Pioneer Elementary School in Auburn. She has brought many effective programs to the school, including an individualized math fact program that has students doing triple-digit multiplication as early as the second grade. Ms. Stanton's students also perform well in reading, despite the high percentage of English Language Learner (ELL) students at the school. As a member of the district's Goal II Math Committee, she has worked to develop the math curriculum and align it with grade-level expectations. Ms. Stanton is National Board Certified, and has been instrumental in leading several teachers through the certification process. She conducts numerous in-service workshops and classroom demonstrations, and videotapes professional development sessions, sharing them with other buildings on DVD. Many students have told her that because of the impact she has had on them, they aspire to be teachers. That's one kind of multiplication the world could use more of.


Monica Garcia
Cedar Heights Junior High School
"If this is the evidence, what conclusions can you draw?" asks Monica Garcia of her seventh-grade students during a hands-on activity based on the TV show, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." This kind of activity-based inquiry is one of many strategies that make Ms. Garcia such an effective teacher. Rather than giving direct answers, she encourages students to discover for themselves why things happen, asking questions to guide their discovery. Ms. Garcia also teaches academic subjects not as separate disciplines but as integrated areas of knowledge: students in her science classes develop their reading, writing and math skills, while those in her English class also learn science, math and history. Chair of the school's science department and a member of her building leadership team, Ms. Garcia's influence extends to the adults she works with. She is the science coordinator for the district, often leading in-service sessions for teachers at all levels. Ms. Garcia developed a standards-based grading system that gives parents a more detailed and accurate idea of what students are learning in her classes than report cards can provide. She is an active mentor for new teachers through the district's Teacher Assistance Program (TAP), and she was a lead teacher in helping her peers understand how to use a digital resource library for students and teachers. In one of Ms. Garcia's activities, known as "Geocaching," she gives students coordinates for clues that lead to a hidden treasure. Students use global positioning satellite tools to find these coordinates. If they want to find a real treasure, they need look no further than the teacher in their classroom.

Donna Marshall
Cleveland High School
When Donna Marshall began her post as principal of Cleveland High School in January 2005, it was one of Seattle's most troubled schools. In a very short time, she has revitalized the school's staff and student body, building an atmosphere of trust and respect while expanding the leadership team to engage teachers and students alike. Among her strategies was a staffwide leadership retreat that she organized to invite teachers into the decision-making process. She also encouraged the expansion of the student council and student activities program. There's a precedent for the rapid and comprehensive transformation Ms. Marshall has been able to effect at Cleveland High School. Previously, as principal of Rainier Beach High School, which is also in the Seattle School District, Ms. Marshall's administrative leadership helped students improve their scores on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) in all three categories-reading, writing and math-by over 10 percent in the 2003-2004 school year. It was the only school in the district to show such significant gains. Ninety-one percent of Cleveland High School students took the WASL this year-more than any previous year. Part of her strategy to improve attendance was to share with students her own experience as a reluctant test-taker, a reluctance that she eventually learned to overcome. Any student willing to follow in the footsteps of this outstanding teacher is sure to find a bright future ahead.


Lisa Horn
Gildo Rey Elementary School
At Gildo Rey Elementary School in Auburn, teaching is more than a job for fourth-grade teacher Lisa Horn. It is a way of life and a passion. Mrs. Horn developed a prewriting technique that yields impressive results with students and is easy to deliver, and she created a math problem-solving curriculum for her fourth-graders. For the last two years, 100 percent of Mrs. Horn's students reached standard in reading, no small feat for a student body with a 23 percent ELL (English Language Learners) rate and a 50 percent free and reduced lunch rate. Mrs. Horn pioneered the use of Larson's Intermediate Math software and presented workshops across the district to help other K-8 schools implement the program successfully. She is a member of the School Improvement Planning Team and serves as the fourth-grade team leader. Mrs. Horn was recently named Elementary Teacher of the Year for Auburn.

Lisa Szkodyn
Pioneer Elementary School
Fourth-grade teacher Lisa Szkodyn makes learning come alive for students at Pioneer Elementary School in Vancouver. She is assessment-driven and tailors instruction to meet individual student needs. Ms. Szkodyn uses Balanced Literacy in her classroom and a combination of demonstration, shared, guided and independent practice. She also uses the Teaching and Learning Cycle, which includes assessment, evaluation, planning and teaching. Her methods work well, as Ms. Szkodyn's students have scored the highest of all third-grade classrooms on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) in all areas, and above district and state averages. A National Board Certified teacher in literacy, Ms. Szkodyn serves as a Learning Network coach, teacher leader, literacy facilitator, and building assessment coordinator.


Kimberly Ellett
Lewisville Middle School
Math specialist Kim Ellett uses cooperative groups and critical thinking exercises to engage students at Lewisville Middle School in Battle Ground. She involves colleagues, parents and the community through schoolwide "problems of the week" and family math nights. Mrs. Ellett takes students on field trips so they can apply math in real-life settings, and uses hands-on activities to help kids discover rules and patterns. A National Board Certified teacher with a bilingual credential, Mrs. Ellett has presented at the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and is a mentor teacher in the Teaching Assistance Program. Mrs. Ellett provides guidance and leadership for the math program at Lewisville Middle School and helps teachers differentiate curriculum so all levels of students can learn in one classroom. Mrs. Ellett started a weekly after school math club and provides staff workshops.

Tami Nesting
Mariner High School
Teacher Tami Nesting's students at Mariner High School in Everett have averaged more than a two-year growth in a single year. Using a personalized teaching approach with her students, Mrs. Nesting engages them in role-playing activities and shows films based on books as a basis for discussion. A hands-on teacher and the Title I Reading team leader at the school, Mrs. Nesting is committed not only to her students, but also to colleagues and parents. She sponsors a monthly training session for teachers on reading strategies and is currently organizing a program to teach English to the parents of English as a Second Language (ESL) students through a partnership with a community college. Mrs. Nesting gathered, organized, analyzed and disseminated achievement data on 500 incoming ninth graders to guide their placement in math and reading for the 2003-04 school year.


Patricia Lewicki
Beacon Hill Elementary School
Tricia Lewicki teaches Grades 4-5 at Beacon Hill Elementary in the Seattle School District. She began her professional career as a financial analyst planning a career in investment banking. However, once Tricia began working as an analyst, she found something lacking and started volunteering at a local elementary school in Seattle where she fell in love with the students and teaching. Tricia began her teaching career at Beacon Hill Elementary and has been there ever since. Tricia attributes a great deal of her success in teaching to her teaching partners. She brings to her team strong management skills and a focused vision of what she wants her students to learn and accomplish. Tricia says, "I work with great teachers. Together we provide a challenging, secure learning environment where kids know they are cared about."

Darleen Perry
Union Gap School District
Darleen Perry teaches Union Gap School District’s kindergarten through fifth grade special education students. After intense research on each of her students, Darleen designs individualized study plans to find the best way to provide instruction. She integrates technology and other resources that interest and challenge the students to meet her level of high expectations. Darleen is known for her innovation, caring, motivation, and making a difference in the lives of the children she teaches. Because of Darleen’s unique approaches in meeting the needs of her diverse student population, students find success in reaching their potential and love to be in her classroom.


Sean McCabe
Liberty Bell High School
Art teacher Sean McCabe has made art a vital and valuable part of the curriculum at Liberty Bell High School in Winthrop. His instruction empowers students who doubt their artistic abilities to become competent artists, motivates others to improve and expand on their gifts, and has boosted student motivation and academic achievement. Displays of student-created art, student participation in regional art competitions, financial support from area arts organizations, and local gallery shows of student work all illustrate Mr. McCabe's influence on the community. Students are inspired by Mr. McCabe's parallel career as a commercial graphic designer, book illustrator and professional artist. Mr. McCabe has coordinated an Outward Bound scholarship program, coached the cross-country team, and founded a community-based Climbing Gym.

Patrick Preisinger
Meridian High School
Patrick Preisinger, chemistry and physics teacher at Meridian High School in Bellingham, attributes his effectiveness to humor, the ability to make science learning relevant to students' lives, and his own quest for new knowledge. Students spend two months of Mr. Preisinger's sequential chemistry curriculum on independent exploratory projects such as creating a flame tornado or synthesizing an essential oil, all the while honing their technical writing skills. His programs, from an astronomy course that explores phenomena such as changes in day length to a scientific investigation of fire-fighting in partnership with a local fire chief, build transferable understanding of fundamental scientific principles. Annual student science exhibitions and research presentations raise community awareness of student learning, as well as support for Mr. Preisinger's overseas study tours and other extracurricular programs.

Betty Williams
Truman Middle School
Betty Williams teaches seventh-grade reading at Truman Middle School in Tacoma where she is able to reach and teach even the most difficult students. Dr. Williams, who entered the teaching profession after years in banking and finance, directs her energies toward the challenges of underachieving and special needs students. Her instructional approach, which combines technology-integrated instruction with individualized attention and innovative solutions for struggling readers, builds student skills and confidence and has contributed to a significant rise in reading and writing scores. Not surprisingly, Dr. Williams is considered a mentor, guide and role model by many in the African-American community. Dr. Williams, who recently received her doctorate in education, is also active in the AIDS Foundation.


Bonita Dixon
Orchard Center Elementary School
Second-grade teacher Bonita Dixon developed and implemented an intensive reading program at Orchard Center Elementary School in Spokane that has helped many struggling second graders learn to read above grade level. She has presented this program at several conferences, resulting in numerous visits to her classroom. A champion of literacy, Mrs. Dixon conducts staff training on reading education and has developed a literacy program for parents. She played a key role in aligning the district's curriculum with the state's Essential Academic Learning Requirements, and helped establish grade-level expectations for reading , writing and math. Mrs. Dixon was instrumental in a district-wide examination of the skills needed to prepare for the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.

LeAnn Haven
Cascade Elementary School
Music teacher LeAnn Haven uses songs, creative drama, mask-making, movement and instrumentation to enliven the curriculum at Cascade Elementary School in East Wenatchee. Combining music with multimedia technology, Mrs. Haven has coordinated various celebration events at Cascade involving students, staff and community members, from Veterans Day observance honoring local war veterans to an annual "Celebration of Learning" assembly showcasing digital photos of the year in review with music and art. A leader among music educators, Mrs. Haven helped develop the district's music curriculum and takes an active role in her local music association. During the past year, she served as an enrichment teacher for one day each week, incorporating several different academic disciplines.

Kristi Rennebohm-Franz
Sunnyside School
First- and second-grade teacher Kristi Rennebohm-Franz's innovation constructivist curriculum at Sunnyside School in Pullman has garnered national and international attention. Her classroom was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the twelve most outstanding technology projects in the country, and was put on display at the Secretary of Education's National Conference on Educational Technology 2000 in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Rennebohm-Franz was selected as a panelist during the Conference's International Plenary Panel to discuss "Global Connections through Technology." An effective public speaker, she was featured in a recent PBS special on technology in public education called "The Digital Divide." In addition, Mrs. Rennebohm-Franz designed and maintains an award-winning classroom Web site.


Jim Boyce
White River High School, Buckley
At White River High School in Buckley, biology and life science teacher Jim Boyce co-created a class for special education students called the "Jammin' Salmon Project." Through this synergistic program, students addressed the problem of endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest by monitoring local waters, designing a Web page, and printing t-shirts and newsletters. Students were also assigned various jobs during the project, including writing, videotaping or taking digital photos. Another of Mr. Boyce's innovations is a challenging anatomy and physiology class he designed to prepare students for the rigors of college. He developed format for concurrent technology training sessions for the White River staff that has since been adopted by the district.

Janeen Drake-Grimes
Wilson Middle School, Yakima
Over the last seven years, Principal Janeen Drake-Grimes has led the systematic implementation of an interdisciplinary team format at Wilson Middle School in Yakima. To help ensure the success of the format, Ms. Drake-Grimes has instituted a variety of strategies, including integrated curriculum development, additional planning time for teachers, a new assessment plan, provisions for challenging highly capable students, and promotion conferences involving students and parents. Placing a strong emphasis on ongoing professional development, she has enlisted the aid of nationally recognized experts to work with her staff on a variety of school reform issues. Ms. Drake-Grimes is a frequent presenter at both state and national conferences and has chaired various conference committees.

Madonna Hanna
Bremerton High School, Bremerton
Madonna Hanna is a former fashions and retail executive who now teaches fashion marketing and career opportunities at Bremerton High School in Bremerton. Mrs. Hanna's "Flights of Fancy" fashion show integrates vocational education with special needs programs. Through the program, her regular students learn professionalism and compassion as they help special needs students become "fashion models" for a day; the special needs students in turn develop their listening and teamwork skills. She has assisted the Bon Marché department store and Goodwill Industries with fashion shows featuring people with disabilities. Mrs. Hanna was named a national Point of Light award recipient in 1992, and is a state Teacher of the Year finalist.

Kay Lehmann
Garrison Middle School
Walla Walla
Each fall, the 8th-graders in Kay Lehmann's social studies classes at Garrison Middle School in Walla Walla are hired as interns in a mock company, Lehmann Enterprises. Through this company, students create real-life products related to their social studies lessons, such as a children's book on Japan or a clickable historical map of Egypt. The cutting-edge technology in Mrs. Lehmann's classroom allows students to independtly research write and create final products while she acts as office manager and facilitator. As a participant in the Gate Foundation's Teacher Leadership Project, Mrs. Lehmann trains and mentors other teachers in the use of technology and delivers presentations at state and regional technology conferences.


Evelyn Abernethy
Longfellow Elementary School
Evelyn Abernethy, fourth-and fifth-grade English teacher at Longfellow Elementary School in Pasco, helps her many Spanish-speaking students through a vital step in their transition into the mainstream classroom. Using a strategy called On Level Reading, Mrs. Abernethy raises performance expectations, which have resulted in higher scores on state reading tests. She also conducts monthly Parent-Student Math Nights to reinforce student learning by increasing parents' understanding of what is being taught. Her "Growing through Gardening" program, in which students plant produce in a small garden, teaches them about nature while encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Mrs. Abernethy is the district trainer on a variety of teaching strategies.

Alfonso Lopez
Lewis and Clark Elementary School
A Mexican-born educator who immigrated to the United States as an adult, Title I reading specialist Alfonso Lopez of Lewis and Clark Elementary School in Wenatchee knows first-hand the challenges of learning a new language and culture. Mr. Lopez not only uses the Reading Recovery system to teach reading in English; he has adapted the system to teach his Spanish readers as well. He has also highlighted the importance of life-long learning and parental involvement in education through articles he has written for a local newspaper, and has taught classes on how parents can help their children read at home. A role model in his community, Mr. Lopez received the 1998 Washington Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Leonora Schmit (Noble)
Lister Elementary Magnet School
Under principal Leonora Schmit, Lister Elementary Magnet School in Tacoma is setting academic and attendance benchmarks for area schools. By combining the school's English as a Second Language and Title I programs into a single, cohesive unit, Ms. Schmit and her staff have created smaller learning groups of students taught collaboratively by a highly skilled team of teachers. The result has been an increase in student achievement. She has also improved student attendance through the Attendance Club, which awards banners and prizes to classrooms with the highest attendance. As elementary legislative liaison for the Association of Washington School Principals, Ms. Schmit shares her insight and experience in educational administration with her peers.

Kelly Starr
Snohomish School District
Kelly Starr, curriculum technology specialist for the Snohomish School District in Snohomish, instructs teachers in technology integration strategies that support the Learning+Laptop program she developed three years ago. The program, which provides laptop computers for most of the district's 740 fifth-to eight-graders, has resulted in improved student learning and greater parental involvement. Mrs. Starr developed training modules for technology integration as part of the statewide Teacher Leadership Project and works occasionally with a consulting group that trains teachers nationwide on integrating technology into the curriculum. As a former elementary teacher, Mrs. Starr fosters high-level thinking through programs such as "Future Problem-Solving," in which students apply problem-solving skills to topics such as homelessness.


Cynthia Chesak
Foster Senior High School
Cynthia Chesak's drama and English classes are the wellspring of future thespians and playwrights at Foster High School in Tukwila. In her collaborative playwriting class, groups of students write parts of a play, which they develop to their conclusions during rehearsal. This process not only teaches them about plot and character, but about the play's substantive issues as well. One such play, Poets, dramatized the experiences of ESL students in a new country. In addition to drama, Ms. Chesak teaches an Advanced Placement English class that includes a children's literature unit, at the end of which students are required to write and illustrate their own children's book based on their study of the form.

Rebecca Downey
Timberline High School
Seniors at Timberline High School in Lacey who are considering a career in education have an ally in social studies teacher Rebecca Downey. Timberline's Teacher Academy, which Ms. Downey designed and developed, trains seniors in a range of education issues, including instructional methodology, human development, and the philosophical, social and cultural foundations of education. Students in the course then work as interns in classrooms around the district. Ms. Downey is currently on temporary leave from Timberline, fulfilling a special assignment in the district's curriculum office, where she is helping to plan and develop the state of Washington's recent decision to shift to standards-based assessment.

Anthony Magana
Mukilteo Cyber School
Anthony Magana, director of the Mukilteo Cyber School in Everett, uses the Internet to bring the world to his classroom. Through the Polar Project and the Arctic to Amazon Project, his students used the Internet to track the progress of a local elderly couple as they trekked to the North Pole and kayaked through the Canadian Yukon and the Amazon Rain Forest. Mr. Magana also created the "It Ought to Be a Law Project," which allows students to use the Internet to correspond electronically with legislators to learn how a bill becomes a law. In 1993, the project culminated in a nine-site video teleconference in which students testified on a bill before the Washington State Senate Education Committee.

Alison Olzendam
Chase Middle School
Alison Olzendam, principal of Chase Middle School in Spokane, creates a supportive and safe environment for students by giving recognition and demanding responsibility. The Renaissance Program, for example, recognizes and rewards academic excellence and positive behavior with Student of the Month awards, T-shirts, certificates and coupons. And the school safety program that she created at Chase encourages students to behave responsibly, provides them with a reliable support system, and trains them on how to deal with harassment. In addition to her duties as principal, Ms. Olzendam serves as the president of the Legislative Committee for the Association of Washington State Principals.


Kristin Hundeby (Felde)
Pleasant Valley Primary School
"I believe in teaching relevant life skills and concepts, and my approach to education is to develop hands-on learning experiences," says Kristin Felde, a third-grade teacher at Pleasant Valley Primary School in Vancouver. Six years ago, and with only one computer in hand, Mrs. Felde embarked on a longterm program to train every staff member and student in computer skills and to equip all classrooms with computer facilities and Internet access. Today, Mrs. Felde is the chair of the Educational Technology committee at her school, and staff and students are benefiting from the advantages and possibilities offered by a technologically integrated curriculum. Mrs. Felde's students were. recently involved in a project that included tracking the Space Shuttle Columbia, interviewing the astronauts involved in the mission via computer and providing the rest of the school with daily reports on the shuttle's progress.

Hertica Martin
Meadows Elementary School
"My management style embraces total quality education in the school-that is, management not by objective, but by quality improvement to achieve constancy of purpose and the removal of barriers that impede intellectual learning and quality education," says Hertica Martin, principal of Meadows Elementary School in Lacey. Mrs. Martin, who has served on scores of state and national committees on education, is currently a member of the Curriculum/Resource Committee of ESPAW (Elementary School Principals Association of Washington), serves on the Math Committee for the Commission on Student Learning for Washington state, and is president of WABSE (Washington Alliance of Black School Educators). By implementing a collaborative approach and instituting an inclusion model, Mrs. Martin has helped her school develop an educational environment that benefits from an integrated curriculum, the comprehensive assessment of student achievement and developmentally appropriate instructional approaches.

Ronald Scutt
Stehekin School
For the past twenty years, Ron Scutt has taught all subjects to grades one through eight at Stehekin School, a one-room school that serves anywhere between six and twenty-two students in remote Stehekin, a community that can be reached only by ferry or float plane. "The foundation of our educational program," says Mr. Scutt, "is that we attempt to meet all students with a dynamic curriculum which actively engages their intellect. physical body and sense of artistic growth." Teaching students between the ages of six and fourteen in the same classroom has given Mr. Scutt an extraordinary command of integrated curriculum and developmentally appropriate instruction. Mr. Scutt has shared the unique educational program he developed with other educators and administrators through summer courses and extensive writings. Students of Mr. Scutt's school have consistently distinguished themselves on national tests and throughout their later schooling.

Scott Whitbeck
McAlder Elementary School
In his seven years as principal of McAlder Elementary School in Puyallup, Scott Whitbeck has helped catapult the school from "bare survival" to "proud excellence." "Students at my school are considered among the most challenged and challenging in the district, yet they consistently score at or above average at each focused grade level," says Mr. Whitbeck. Last year, in an effort to reverse the effects of a significant funding decrease for special education services in his district, Mr. Whitbeck joined forces with the district special services director to create "SpEd Buck," a site-based staffing model that restructured the allocation of available funds. The model, well-received by district schools, will soon be introduced to schools in other Washington school districts. In 1995, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction recognized Mr. Whitbeck with a Washington State Excellence in Education Award.


Carol Coe
Puyallup High School
"We should adopt and live by the philosophy that in education thele is no finish line," says Carol Coe who teaches English, social studies and study skills at Puyallup High School in Puyallup. Five yeals ago, Mrs. Cue joined a team of interdisciplinary educators to launch Visions, a school-within-a-school program that is designed to reach the non-traditional learner. With its emphasis on an integrated curriculum, active student participation, real-world applications and meaningful community connections, the program has rigorously promoted educational reforms to benefit the students. For the last 20 years, Mrs. Coe has also supervised projects for ENCORE (Enriching Normal Curriculum Outside the Regular Environment), a real-life application program she created. ENCORE's student-designed projects have been presented at daycare centers, hospital wards, shelters for the homeless and elementary schools. In 1994, Mrs. Coe was honored as Teacher of the hear by the Washington State Office of Public Instruction.

Bennie Murl Dillard
Kent-Meridian High School
"As a Black educator working in a part of the country that has such a small Black population, I have always felt that my presence in the community, school and profession has made a difference," says Bennie Dillard, principal of Kent-Meridian High School in Kent. Under Mr. Dillard's leadership the school adapted the Attendance Incentive Program, a program that rewards perfect student attendance through a weekly lottery format, and the Academic Study Center, an after-school tutoring program that relies on the participation of staff and community. Mr. Dillard has also created a program that extends the school week with bi-monthly Saturday classes offering students assistance in Math and S.A.T. preparation, as well as enrichment classes in areas that are not covered by the regular curriculum. In 1999, the Blue Ribbon Committee recognized Mr. Dillard as an Outstanding Principal.

LeaAnna Portmann
Enumclaw Junior High School
"If we as professionals are responsive to the communities that we serve and if we create developmentally-appropriate programs for our students, we will have the respect and support that we need to do our jobs," says LeaAnna Portmann, principal of Enumclaw Junior High School in Enumclaw. To create a favorable environment for all students, Mrs. Portmann has introduced a number of programs including: Lunch Bunch, a supervised lunch-hour study hall; Catch-Up Club, an evening library program for students who need academic assistance; and a Progress Reports program that evaluates student performance on a frequent basis. By actively recruiting parents and members of the community, Mrs. Portmann has created a network of of volunteers who help run the school cafeteria store, assist in classrooms and the library, and teach mini-courses twice a year. Mrs. Portmann's school was selected as a National School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.

Julie Rawson
Brewster Junior/Senior High School
Julie Rawson teaches Spanish at Brewster Junior/Senior High School in Brewster, a school that serves a population that is 50% Hispanic and 50% Anglo-American. Consequently, Ms. Rawson's teaching duties include Spanish for English speakers, Spanish for Spanish speakers and reading for middle school students. Ms. Rawson also serves as the school-wide advocate for Brewster's Migrant/Bilingual program. Beyond her immediate duties as a language coordinator, Ms. Rawson has acted as a liason between the English- and Spanish-speaking communities and considers it her duty to help "form a bridge between two cultures." Ms. Rawson has also been instrumental in developing her school's bilingual program to include bilingual aides in the classrooms for after-school tutorials and to help implement the PASS program to facilitate accreditation for migrant students.

Judith Williams
Morris Schott Middle School
Judith Williams teaches sixth- through twelfth-grade special education students at Morris Schott Middle School in Mattawa. The "entrepreneurial curriculum model" Mrs. Williams created is at the center of her educational approach. In this program. student-run businesses serve as the vehicle for the teaching of academic content and business-relatecl skills. Students involved in the program manage Re-Run Recycling, a community-wide recycling business, as well as an advertising business that produces and markets posters, signs and cards. The program, which relies on strong community alliances, provides students with a "high motivating, practical and real-life learning experience." Since its inception, the program has brought about a dramatic change in student behavior and attitude. "My students now have a sense of ownership of school and community," says Mrs. Williams.


Robert DeBuhr
Grantham Elementary School
Robert DeBuhr, principal of Grantham Elementary School in Clarkston, believes that educators must "accept the child regardless of circumstances, and let the child know that, together, teacher and student have an important job to do." To reverse some of the effects that beset any community confronted by poverty and juvenile crime, Mr. DeBuhr has established a Youth Services Program that serves as an umbrella organization for a variety of student support programs offered by the school and the community. He has also supervised the establishment of developmentally appropriate classrooms which complement the traditional classroom program already in place at the school. In order to provide youngsters with positive role models, the school's Champions program pairs students with adults from the community. Mr. DeBuhr has been recognized as a National Distinguished Principal by the U.S. Department of Education.

Irene Gonzales
McKinley Elementary School
Upon becoming principal of McKinley Elementary School in Yakima, Irene Gonzales began admitting special education students and non-English speaking students. "Today," says Ms. Gonzales, "we admit every student who walks through our doors, and I guarantee that all children will receive the services they need." Ms. Gonzales is also the founder of HAAP (Hispanic Academic Achievers Program), a district-wide program that provides a springboard for Hispanic students trying to ensure a better life through education. By providing positive role models, tutors, scholarships and college orientation and counseling, the program seeks to reinforce and reward educational achievement. In response to the increased enrollment of Spanish-speaking students, Ms. Gonzales recently implemented a bilingual classroom at every grade level.

Christopher Held
Phantom Lake Elementary School
Christopher Held, who teaches fourth and fifth graders at Phantom Lake Elementary School in Bellevue, is one of the creators of the Integrated Technology Classroom Model. "This model," says Mr. Held, "places technology in classrooms and integrates it meaningfully into instruction." In 1989, Mr. Held joined forces with two colleagues to develop the program. Today it is in more than fifty classrooms district-wide, and Mr. Held has presented it at numerous professional meetings around the country. Mr. Held has also shared his ideas on the fusion of pedagogy and technology through the various media. Mr. Held believes that it is the responsibility of educators to give children the tools for "basic literacy, computation skills, productive cooperative skills, self-discipline, self-direction and a deep and insatiable love for learning."

Edie Reclusado
Crystal Springs Elementary School
Edie Reclusado teaches a third and fourth grade multi-age classrooll at Crystal Springs Elementally School in Bothell. One of the programs Mrs. Reclusado has developed with her students includes the construction and management of Reclusadoville, a student-designed replica of Bothell. The program addresses such areas as urban design, architecture, city planning, civic institutions and the workings of the community. Reclusadoville was honored at a Bothell City Council meeting as an official "sister city." Mrs. Reclusaclo's use of student portfolios as an assessment tool in parent-student-teacher conferences gives her students the opportunity to discuss their individual strengths and weaknesses. Like many of her other initiatives, this program also fosters a strong bond between parents and the classroom.

Janet Steele
Lake Spokane Elementary School
"I learned to teach in the most important environment in the world-the classroom," says Janet Steele, who teaches a second and third grade multi-age classroom at Lake Spokane Elementary School in Nine Mile Falls. In an effort to counter the restrictions of the traditional classroom model, Ms. Steele teamed up with a colleague and developed the first multi-age classroom at Lake Spokane Elementary School. Now in its second year, the multi-age classroom continues to give successful results. Parent participation is an essential factor of the multi-age framework as it has been developed by Ms. Steele. A community-based art program, also created by Ms. Steele, serves area students interested in pursuing after-school art education. This program offers classes in drawing, pottery, printmaking and watercolor and oil painting. Ms. Steele has incorporated a parent/child Art Night into the program.

   Updated 1/7/2016

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