2018 Teacher of the Year
Teacher of the Year and Regional Winners
2018 Washington State Teacher of the Year
Northeast ESD 101 Regional Teacher of the Year
Spokane School District | Joel E. Ferris High School
Eastern Washington University, Bachelor of Arts, Electronic Media & Filmic Arts, 1998
West Texas A & M University, Master of Arts, Communications, 2005
Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Fiction Writing, 2012
National Board Certified Teacher
Request a meeting with Mandy or ask her to attend your event
Mandy Manning teaches English and math to refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Ferris HS in Spokane. Mandy has the honor of being her students' first teacher in the U.S., and learning with them as they acclimate to their new home. She coaches fastpitch softball and girls' basketball, advises the writing club, and co-advises the Gay-Straight Alliance. Mandy is also a powerful voice for policy in her building and district. She recently led a push to re-evaluate her school’s PBIS implementation and wrote a revised plan that resulted in a 74% decrease in suspensions in the first year.
Mandy was named the 2017 Washington state recipient of the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, and she is a Global Fellow. As a fellow she travelled to China in June to explore and learn about their education system. She chronicled her experience on her blog –
The Traveling Teacher. From 1999-2001 Mandy served as a teacher in the Peace Corps in Armenia. This global perspective infuses her classroom. Mandy uses experiential projects like map-making to help her students process trauma, celebrate their home countries and culture, and learn about their new community.
“When I met Ms. Manning my life totally changed,” writes student Safa Mohammed. “She is one of the best teachers, not just in our school, but in the community also. She became more than a teacher to me; I count her as my second mother. She is the kindest teacher I have ever met.”
Mandy has hosted over 160 teaching candidates in the Newcomer Center. Many teach their first lesson in the Center. For others the Center is their intercultural field experience. Mandy regularly invites district leaders, school board members, and legislators into her classroom. She aims to expose as many future teachers, colleagues, and community members as possible to the diverse environment of the Center. As an NBCT, Mandy is an ambassador, Jump Start Trainer, and cohort facilitator who encourages and guides teachers in their Board Certification. Colleagues praise Mandy for her focus on collaborative decision making and determination to bring marginalized voices into decision-making. She was recently named to the Washington Paraeducator Board to begin work on the new Paraeducator standards this fall.
Mandy believes 90% of teaching is relational. When students know a teacher cares, they are more open to learning. She fosters these relationships by creating an inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment, in which students share and learn from one another. She visits each of her student's homes to learn about their families and cultures and to foster strong relationships between home and school. Mandy’s dedication to her students and their families reaches well beyond their achievements in the classroom. She works tirelessly to make sure her students have the mental and physical health resources they need to be successful and safe as well as adapt to life in a new country.
“She is a gift to our community,” writes Assistant Principal John O’Dell. “No one better exemplifies commitment to professional practice, advocacy, community engagement, developing others, or supporting diversity more than Mandy.”
2018 Regional Teachers of the Year
ESD 105 Regional Teacher of the Year
Mt. Adams School District | White Swan High School
Yakima Valley Community College, Associate of Arts, Early Childhood Education, 2004
Western Governor’s University, Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education, 2007
Western Governor’s University, Master of Arts, Educational Leadership, 2017
For many students, graduation testing represents a formidable foe; the math section looms menacingly, seemingly the only hurdle between some students and graduation. This is especially true in the Mt Adams school district, where Jenny has taught for 8 years. The district is comprised of nearly 98% minority students with 100% qualifying for free or reduced priced lunch. Along with living and working in the community Jenny volunteers, including holding free GED classes for adults. Jenny grew up in northwest Montana. Her parents instilled a belief that education is vital. She had dreamed of becoming a teacher since high school, but this dream was placed on hold. Then she returned to school in the early 2000s.
Jenny's philosophy is that education is the key to agency and empowerment. She is committed to working with students where they are at and build up their confidence in their own abilities. Building this confidence is one of Jenny’s unique strengths. This approach has already made a big impact. Most recently a class of thirty eighth graders who started the year significantly below grade level passed the state algebra exam at a rate of 61.3%. One student asked, "Remember when you convinced us we could pass our test and we did?"
Jenny's passion is math, and she works to eradicate a widespread belief that it is acceptable to be “bad at math.” This fixed mindset represents the antithesis of growth. Jenny helps students realize that math is not an unreachable mystery, but a powerful tool that can help them develop tenacity to persevere in the face of adversity. Using statistics, Jenny shows students how easily politicians manipulate data to support their existing belief. She leads them through exercises that analyze their own attendance data and use it to predict their future GPA. Students learn that math, logic, and problem solving are relevant not just to their future, but also their present.
“Before I took algebra with Mrs. Tenney, I always struggled with math,” writes student Diana Jimenez-Guzman. “One gets frustrated and sometimes discouraged. I asked many questions to understand the concept better. Mrs. Tenney happily and patiently answered all of them. When my classmates and I didn’t understand a lesson the way she taught it, she would go home and plan out a different way to teach the lesson the next day so we could understand. Mrs. Tenney has encouraged me to keep asking questions and sustained my determination to keep learning.”
ESD 112 Regional Teacher of the Year
Camas School District | Camas High School
Yale University, Bachelor of Arts, Music, 2002
University of Washington, Master of Arts, Music Education, 2011
Ethan Chessin teaches music at Camas High School. Since his arrival, enrollment in choir has exploded, growing from 45 students to nearly 200. Driven by the belief that music connects and engages students, Ethan has expanded his school's music department, adding four choirs, songwriting and piano classes, and a student orchestra.
Ethan inspires his students to achieve excellence. His ensembles have performed around the Northwest, including featured performances at the Washington Music Educators' Association Convention, the PICA Time-Based Art Festival, and the World Affairs Council of Oregon's Teach Latin America Youth Forum. With Ethan as music director, the Camas theater department has won numerous statewide awards, including Outstanding Overall Musical for their 2015 production of Cabaret. All students excel under Ethan's instruction: he has invited students with developmental disabilities to conduct in concert, while many of his students have received top honors in festivals, scholarships, and auditions.
Ethan's mission as a teacher is to bring the world to the school and the school to the world. Dozens of musicians and community leaders have visited his classroom as experts and culture bearers, including Sufi mystics, capoeira troupes, indie rockers, klezmer bands, and composers from Mexico and the Czech Republic. He developed a recurring yearlong project that pulls back the curtain on the music industry so students may compose music, plan logistics, publicize, and perform music for live concerts and recordings. The Portland Mercury called the culminating concert of 2016's project "the most life-affirming night of music I've experienced in some time, leaving me downright aglow with joy."
Ethan's career is an affirmation of the power of music to bring people together. He uses music to teach every subject: lessons on race and prejudice, Islam, poetry, and current events enhance students' understanding of music as well as their common humanity.
“There were moments in my high school career where graduating seemed impossible,” writes Camas alum Taylor Hudson. “In the midst of discouragement and poor grades, Ethan never doubted me. In fact, my conversations with him reminded me of my own imagination. To be believed in and respected as a thinker by a person of influence in one’s adolescent life is a gift. Especially by a person as brilliant as Ethan. This gift has served me well as I have gone on to academic and artistic success at Seattle Pacific University.”
Capital Region ESD 113 Regional Teacher of the Year
Olympia School District | Washington Middle School
Western Washington University, Bachelor of Arts, K-12 Special Education, 1998
City University, Master of Education, Education Technology, 2001
National Board Certified Teacher
After 18 years in the field of Special Education, Melissa still has a passion and drive for kids, learning, and being part of a school community. She grew up in the rural town of Milton Washington and attended Western Washington University to earn a Bachelor of Arts, K-12 Special Education Degree. Melissa knew right from the start that special education was her true calling in life.
Melissa has an extensive amount of experience within the field of special education, including working in off-campus intensive behavior programs and focusing on the transition to "real life" with 18-21 year olds. She has designed and opened a program for students with intellectual disabilities and severe behavioral issues in one district and set up five alternative schools with special education in another. Melissa taught all of these vastly different students by leading with her heart, creating connections, and focusing on their successes and strengths.
Melissa teaches at Washington Middle School in Olympia where she has created and grown a peer mentor program where more than 50 students of all achievement levels enter her classroom daily to work with students with intellectual disabilities. Many of these students are in leadership roles where they are successful and feel proud of themselves for the first time in our educational system. This creates not just a calm, relaxing, and educationally focused learning environment, but a place where everyone can be themselves and be proud of all their achievements.
Melissa’s approach has yielded tremendous results for her students both socially and academically. Her students are connected to their peers and never sit alone at lunch. Melissa invites educators and other community members to share their expertise and passions in her classroom. She opens the world to her students and show them all the possibilities life holds for them.
“Every time I have the opportunity to visit Ms. Charette’s classroom I am struck by the warmth and engagement of everybody in the room, whether peer mentors, students with disabilities, paraeducators, or teachers,” writes parent Elizabeth Coker. “this positive classroom atmosphere is reflected in the behavior of all the students, who are generally attentive and focused on whatever task is going on. In all my years of experience with my son’s schooling, including several years with many of the same students in his current class, I have never seen a more supportive special education classroom environment.”
Olympic ESD 114 Regional Teacher of the Year
Chimacum School District | Chimacum High School
Sierra Nevada College, Bachelor of Arts, 2005
Sierra Nevada College, Master of Arts, Teaching, 2007
Gary Coyan moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009. He teaches art, foods, and horticulture classes at Chimacum High School. Gary believes CTE should be deeply rooted in the community. Gary’s lessons and approach to teaching are rooted in experiential learning and real world relevance. He uses field trips to organic farms to teach students about corporate ethics and accountability and how those things impact their community. His art students have the chance to leave their actual mark on the community through his biennial mural project. This project, which began as a tribute to a much-loved teacher, has evolved into a tradition that engages all art students at their level of ability and creates a visual reminder of their achievements.
Gary is happy to share his passions for art, good food, and organic farming with students at Chimacum High School. By teaching both foods and horticulture he is able to coordinate the classes so that much of the produce utilized in the foods class is grown by horticulture students in the greenhouse. Gary's foods students keep and maintain a worm composting bin where the classes’ foods scraps are processed for eventual use in the school garden. Similarly, the Horticulture class takes the lead on the high school bee apiary that he maintains with the help of the Tri-Area Garden Club and the East Jefferson Bee Keepers Association. Gary has found that when learning is real and lasting, students thrive.
Gary is also the work-based learning coordinator, FFA advisor, assistant track coach and serves as advisor to several senior projects each year. This year one of the few senior projects he oversees was successful in establishing Chimacum High school as the first High School Bee Campus USA in the nation.
“Gary was my mentor for my senior project, an AP Drawing portfolio,” writes student Cierra Cabanilla. “Gary has, of course, helped me become comfortable with myself as an artist in the time that I have had with him. He has also helped me become comfortable with myself as a person by helping me come out of my shell and talking me through numerous bad days or instances of crisis or problems I couldn’t begin wot work out on my own. I speak on behalf of many students when I say that Gary Coyan has been so much more than a teacher to us.”
Puget Sound ESD 121 Regional Teacher of the Year
Kent School District | Kent Elementary School
Antioche University, Bachelor of Arts & Teaching Certificate, 2002
Washington Governor’s University, Master of Arts, 2015
Professional Certification completed
In 2002, Denisha, a graduate of Kent schools, began her teaching career less than five miles from the high school in which she graduated. Denisha's reasons and feelings for teaching derived from her experiences as a student and life-long learner.
Denisha believes that teaching and learning are the root of our existence. As a kid, she was labeled a stereotypical child of color, living in a single-parent home, single income, and very transient. Her ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) were stacked against her, just as many of her student-teacher relationships. She was inspired to teach by both her best and worst educational experiences.
From her first year, she has been a part in creating an environment rich in opportunity, equity and well-rounded learning at Kent Elementary. After fourteen years, Denisha is still there. She not only teaches reading, writing, math, social studies, health, art, and social emotional learning to sixth graders, she is the advisor and founder of the school's STOMP and dance team. She coaches the track team, a community soccer team, as well as a local non-profit girls' basketball team. She serves as PLC team leader, is on the equity team, blended learning committee, school-improvement planning team, healthy-hearts committee, and volunteers time to any other school committee or event that is in need.
Denisha is a mentor teacher. She opens her classroom for beginning teachers to gain insight into her teaching practices. She preaches that all students can learn if teachers believe in them, and that all students can be successful if teachers give them opportunity to do so. At Kent Elementary, students are showing magnificent growth which Denisha attributes to the students' hunger and passion for learning. She knows, however, that her guidance and leadership plays a pivotal role in building a school culture that helps them thrive.
“Mrs. Saucedo has been a ‘turning point’ influence on our foster daughter – refocusing her in a positive direction that has produced growth socially and academically,” writes parent John Bray. “I cannot find the words to describe how truly important she has been in our lives. I am grateful that Kent has such an outstanding teacher who has made a lifetime impact for our daughter and all the students she teaches and coaches.”
ESD 123 Regional Teacher of the Year
Richland School District | Hanford High School
Central Washington University, Bachelor of Arts, Special Education, 1981
Central Washington University, Master of Arts, Special Education, 1984
Central Washington University, Career & Technical Education Certificate, 2010
Upon graduating from Central Washington University in 1981 with a degree in Special Education, Laurie embarked on her teaching career at Shelton High School, working with students with special needs on job-readiness skills. Laurie has taught high school special education students for 22 years, carrying the cause of preparing students for life beyond high school in her heart and actions. A cause which she is championing still today, teaching Work Based Learning and Career Choices @ Hanford High School to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She currently supervises 23 students on job experiences in the community, collaborating with visionary administrators, supportive colleagues, involved parents, and enlightened employers. Laurie has been a part of the synergy between Special Education and Career and Technical Education departments in the Richland School District.
She has served on several district committees, researching how to improve transition programming for secondary students with special needs. She has led a team through the QuIST (Quality Indicators for Secondary Transition) process. She was an adjunct professor at Central Washington University for 4 summers. Laurie has implemented work experience programs in 3 different states.
Laurie's classroom is brimming with transition focus – students researching careers, navigating bus schedules, hosting guest speakers, and practicing consumer awareness. Laurie has presented at WA-ACTE Conferences on "Work Based Learning and Special Ed.” She is presently serving on a state committee that plans an annual Transition Conference as well as serving on a CTE Board for her division – Career Counseling Employment Readiness. Laurie is Key Club co-Advisor to 271 "hearts for service" students, partnering with the Kiwanis Club, students volunteer their time and hearts to serve others in our community.
Laurie understands the effectiveness of connecting with her students – relationships matter. She empowers students, creates high expectations, believes in students' abilities, and incorporates humor to build a classroom culture when students can grow into their best selves and have fun doing it.
“Because of the high level of training and positive reinforcement that Mrs. Prices has given our daughter, she has had three very successful years of work-based learning jobs,” writes parent Bonnie Brown. “This has been so instrumental in her personal growth. It has shown her that she is capable of more than she thought. Mrs. Price’s belief in our daughter helped her believe in herself. She is now planning to go to college.”
North Central ESD 171 Regional Teacher of the Year
Wenatchee School District | Wenatchee High School
University of Washington, Bachelor of Arts, International Studies, 1988
Central Washington University, Master of Education, 1999
Jon Magnus is an award-winning high school teacher, University of Washington Extension Lecturer and author of the book S.H.I.N.E. Life Lessons Revealed. A world-traveler and linguist, he spent several years in Europe where he was self-employed as a translator/interpreter for Virgin France and the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction. Jon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies (Trade and Investment) from the University of Washington and a Master of Arts degree in Education from Central Washington University. His business experience gives him a unique perspective on preparing students with 21st Century skills.
In 2001, Jon began teaching French at Wenatchee High School. He firmly believes in providing equitable educational opportunities for all students, holding learners to the highest standards, establishing real connections between in-class activities and the outside world, creating a classroom environment that is fun and engaging, fostering a love for learning, and teaching students to dream and achieve the seemingly impossible. His classroom is immersive. French radio shows play in the background, and the classroom becomes a theater as Jon acts out stories in French.
In 2005, Jon co-founded the Wenatchee School District College Mentor Program for first-generation-to-college Latino students. Mentored students have since obtained over one million dollars in grants and scholarships, including the Gates Millenium Scholarship and QuestBridge Fullride Scholarship. In 2006, Jon founded the Wenatchee High School Interact Club, a youth Rotary club. Under his guidance, students live out the club motto "Service Above Self" and have raised nearly $100,000 for charitable causes.
Jon believes in the power of collaboration to achieve common goals, and has shared his inspiration as keynote speaker for several nonprofits. He strives to open lines of communication between all major stakeholders in the educational world to provide optimal learning experiences for students. Jon's philosophy is that the word impossible should be removed from our vocabulary as we prepare students to be successful, active global citizens.
“Mr. Magnus expands the worldview of his students,” writes alumna Julia Lobe. “In Wenatchee, there are many students who have never traveled outside of our area. They leave Mr. Magnus’s class wanting to see the globe! He demystifies travel abroad with engaging stories about his years living in Europe. Under his guidance, students learn to appreciate that diversity of cultures is a good thing.”
Northwest ESD 189 Regional Teacher of the Year
Darrington School District | Darrington High School
Brigham Young University, Bachelor of Science, Business Education, 1992
City University, Master of Education, Reading and Literacy, 2008
Exuberant and enthusiastic are the first words most use to describe Linne Haywood. She is passionate and fervent when she discusses her students, a book, a lesson, or anything else related to being a teacher and just can’t contain her zeal. Linne has taught in the Darrington School District since 1999, first as a substitute and then full-time. Linne has implemented and led an alternative learning environment to help students retrieve credits and attain their diplomas after dropping out of high school and now serves as an English Language Arts teacher.
In 2010, she started teaching a leadership class and became ASB advisor. She coaches volleyball, is a senior class advisor, and is the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying officer for her district. In addition, she is the building representative for her local union and leads professional development for the high school staff. This year, she partnered with ECC to teach two College in the High School courses, offering her students dual credit with the high school and the local community college.
Linne is an avid volunteer and is the president of the local North Counties Family Services Board of Directors. Quick to say "yes", Linne believes that one should "bloom where they are planted" and she is planted and blossoming firmly in the little hamlet of Darrington. Linne and Rick Haywood have four incredibly smart and sassy children, all grown up and all with high school diplomas from Darrington High School. Linne says that one of her greatest joys was being able to have her own children in her classroom, and she honors that opportunity with other people's children on a daily basis.
“Mrs. Haywood has seen my worst days and my best days,” writes alum Alfred Mugho. “She made me understand that perseverance and persistence are keys to success, but need to be counter balanced with sentiment and compassion. People are our world, and we must help them. One thing she has said that has always resonated with me is this, ‘one loss is a loss for all of us.’ That simple phrase transformed my perception of the world. It has spurred me to give more than I take and to lead by action.”