Shiny red apples are not the only gift that can be handed to an excellent educator. Since 1989 the Washington Education Association has honored teachers with the Teacher of the Year award.
In the Olympia School District the recipient of the 2014 award was Tara Mock, a kindergarten teacher at Garfield Elementary School. Mock was nominated by fellow educator Jane Al-Tamimi and Garfield elementary principal Robert Hodges. Hodges said of Mock in a letter read at the awards ceremony:
“Tara Mock is loved by students, parents and staff. She is often the hub around which Garfield spins. She makes a difference - often THE difference - in her students’ lives every day. Whether she’s leading a Parent Skills Night, hosting a Welcome to Kindergarten Night, or providing teaching and learning materials to local day cares or preschools, Tara is changing the world – one 6-year-old at a time. She is most deserving of this award.”
According to OEA President Adam Brickell, the association sends out a notice to all the schools in the district encouraging them to nominate educators for the award. The nominees are then sent to a board of previous Teacher of the Year award recipients who decide on the most fitting candidate.
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The Olympia Education Association also honored the following volunteers and other educators as advocates of the year:
Christina Sipe, Centennial Elementary School
Lou Wilcox, Garfield Elementary School
Anch Bergeson, Hansen Elementary School
Trista Nesbit, LP Brown Elementary School
Sunshine Cambell, Lincoln Elementary School
Stephanie Hacker, McKenny Elementary School
Seth Crump, McLane Elementary School
Carrie Cortéz-Monroy, Pioneer Elementary School
Arel Solie, Jefferson Middle School
Sonja Ulrich, Marshall Middle School
Carey Flannery, Reeves Middle School
Shindee Manisha, Washington Middle School
Tom Bell, Olympia High School
The following were recognized by the North Thurston Education Association as the 2014 Teacher of the Year:
Jeremiah Tuckett, South Sound High School
Carl Schlegel, River Ridge High School
Carol Froelich, Timberline High School
June Dhamers, Aspire Middle School
Susi O’Bryan, Nisqually Middle School
Adam Brandenburg, Chambers Prairie Elementary School
Marc Coyner, Horizons Elementary School
Shannon Richards, Lacey Elementary School
Bethany Partin, Lakes Elementary School
Denise Smith and Kathy Stone, Mountain View Elementary School
Kerry Beardsley, Olympic View Elementary School
Pam Deck, Pleasant Glade Elementary School
Jennyan Jensen, South Bay Elementary School
The Tumwater School District does not administer the Teacher of the Year award according to district’s communications and community relation coordinator Kim Howard.
For more information about the awards or the Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater education associations call 360-352-5255.