Olympia, North Thurston educators honored

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.

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.

Annah Pritchett