A former NASA astronaut, and current professor of physics and astronomy at Western Washington University, has been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences.
George “Pinky” Nelson will be inducted into the academy at its annual meeting at the Museum of Flight in Seattle on Sept. 20, according to a Western news release.
Nelson also is the head of WWU’s Science, Math and Technology Education program.
The 185-member academy provides scientific and engineering analysis to public policy-makers, and works to increase the role and visibility of science in the state.
Before coming to Western in 2002, Nelson was a NASA astronaut who was a mission specialist on three Space Shuttle missions.
Meridian High School teacher Steve Lawrence has been selected the 2012 Washington History Teacher of the Year. He’ll find out in the fall whether he has been picked as the National History Teacher of the Year. Click here to read my story.
I enjoyed the time I spent in his class, and was impressed with his students.
During the lead-up to the start of the new school year, Western Washington University honors faculty and staff members who have made a difference on campus during the last school year.
Below is the press release from WWU about the annual award ceremony and this year’s winners:
Western Washington University honored outstanding faculty and staff members Friday with annual awards highlighting the best in faculty leadership, diversity achievement, bridging and community engagement. Awards were also given to the year’s outstanding classified and professional staff members and an interdepartmental team devoted to streamlining financial aid processes.
Alejandre has been teaching grades 1 through 4 in the district since 1996, nearly all of her 18 years of teaching.
Throughout her time in Ferndale, Alejandre has served on several district committees, including ones for professional learning communities, school schedules, report cards and school improvement teams. She has also served as a mentor teacher for college interns and received her National Board Certification in 2010.
Each year, the state’s nine educational service districts and the tribal school network pick a regional teacher of the year, the first step in the national teacher of the year contest. Out of the regional winners, the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will pick a state teacher of the year, who is then eligible for the national contest.
Starting this fall, Shuksan Middle School will have a new administrative team leading the school, but at least one face will be familiar to families and students.
Bellingham School District officials selected Spokane-area assistant principal Jay Jordan to be principal of the school, with assistant principals Janae Hodge and John Heritage joining him. The positions are effective July 1.
Jordan is replacing principal Andy Mark, who is leaving the school after five years. Jordan is currently the assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at John R. Rogers High School in Spokane, a school with a large and diverse student population. He has been at the school since 2008, focusing on staff development and collaboration, the English Language Learners students and community outreach. Jordan also held a similar position at Havermale High School in Spokane, and taught English and history at two other Washington State high schools.
He has his bachelor’s degree and principal’s certificate from Washington State University, and a master’s degree in educational technology from City University.
Hodge has been temporarily working as an assistant principal at Shuksan this school year, as well as a district instructional technology teacher on special assignment. She is fluent in Spanish, and taught the language at several schools since 1992, including Sehome High and Fairhaven Middle schools and Shorewood High School in Seattle. She has a bachelor’s degree from the Pacific Lutheran University, and a master’s degree and principal’s certificate from Western Washington University.
Heritage is replacing Tracy Martinez, who is moving to an assistant principal position at Squalicum High School. He has been principal of Geneva Elementary School since 2001. Before that, he taught at Silver Ridge Elementary and Cougar Valley Elementary schools in Silverdale. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree from City University and administrative credentials from Seattle Pacific University.
Due to the size of the Latino community at the school, there was a temporary Latino outreach staff position this school year. To continue the progress made with connecting the community to the school, there will soon be a job posted for Special Assistant to the Superintendent on Family Engagement, with an emphasis on reaching-out to the Latino community. That job would provide on-site assistance at Shuksan, as well as district-level support.
Couto, who joined the Blaine High staff in 2005, teaches AP chemistry and environmental science courses. He has also been involved in the AVID Site Team work, helping students think about college.
This is the first step in a statewide competition; Couto is eligible for the Northwest Educational Service District teacher of the year award. The winner of that award will join seven others in vying for the state honor next fall.
Steve Clarke, popular principal of Bellingham High School, is leaving the school this summer.
But he won’t be going far – less than a mile to the Bellingham School District’s central office.
Starting July 1, Clarke will become the new executive director of teaching and learning. And while he’s going to miss working with students at Bellingham High, he’s excited to be able to positively influence students across the district.
“I’m pumped about the job and really excited about joining (Superintendent) Greg Baker’s leadership team,” said Clarke on Friday afternoon, April 15. “To work with those guys is an exciting opportunity for me, but I love kids, I love being with kids every day, and I’m going to miss being with these kids every day.”
In his new job, Clarke will help incoming Deputy Superintendent Tom Venable oversee the district’s principals, curriculum, virtual learning, student support services, special education and more items that are related to students and their education opportunities. Clarke will be replacing Doug Kyles, the district’s current Executive Director of School Administration, who is retiring July 1 after 28 years with the district.
Clarke has been the principal at Bellingham High since it reopened in fall 2000, and quickly became a much-loved figure among students and staff. In 2005, Clarke was named Washington State Principal of the Year and was one of three finalists for the national honor.
But Clarke’s ties to the high school started long before he became principal. Clarke, who is a Western Washington University graduate, started at Bellingham High School in 1985 teaching English, drama and speech. He stayed there until he became the assistant principal of Nooksack Valley Jr./Sr. High School in 1993. In 1995, Clarke returned to Bellingham High as the assistant principal, and became the school’s planning principal in 1998 when it was temporarily closed for major renovations.
When the high school reopened in 2000, Clarke and his staff immediately worked to create a respectful community, with students and staff adopting the Collective Commitments, three rules that all students and staff live by: treat each other with dignity and respect, take care of the school and produce quality work.
“I think our kids and our staff live it every day,” Clarke said. “We have the right stuff happening here and that allows kids to do really well. I want to be involved in bringing some of those things to the district level.”
Students and staff have loved having him as principal, showing their appreciation of his work on a regular basis. Recently, for his 50th birthday, the student body and staff serenaded him in the commons, with many people dressing in his signature white button-down shirt and tie.
A search process to find a new principal for Bellingham High will start soon; staff, students and community members will be involved in the process.
“I love the kids at Bellingham High,” Clarke said, “but I really believe I can support a lot of kids in a lot different ways in this new position.”
Each year, the Bellingham School District surprises a handful of employees with awards that honor the work they’ve been doing.
This year, honorees received flowers, gift certificates, trophies and other goodies from sponsors Sanitary Services Company, Bellingham Public School Foundation and Vid-Smith Digital Video Production.
Districtwide Certificated Staff Member of the Year: Marc Whitlock, health and fitness teacher at Northern Heights Elementary and district employee for 33 years.
Districtwide Classified Staff Member of the Year: Melinda Nelson, paraeducator at Alderwood Elementary for the last six and a half years.
Districtwide Staff Team of the Year: Alderwood Title 1 Reading Team – Kristi Champagne, Dawn Christiana, Jennifer Percival and Christina Tan.
Districtwide Volunteer of the Year: Erin McEachern, Columbia Elementary School parent volunteer and Columbia Parent Association President.
Districtwide Leader of the Year: Rob McElroy, principal at Wade King Elementary School and district employee for 32 years.
For a list of school-level honorees and biographical information about the districtwide winners, click here.
Larrabee Elementary School Principal Eric Paige is being recommended as the new principal for Carl Cozier Elementary School.
Paige, who has been principal at Larrabee since 2004, would be replacing Tom Venable at Carl Cozier. Venable is transitioning into the deputy superintendent position, which he will take-over full time starting with the 2011-12 school year.
Paige’s move will be discussed by the Bellingham School Board on Feb. 24.
According to the Bellingham School District, both Paige and Venable will continue working with their current school communities during the transition. Officials will start work to pick Larrabee’s new principal soon.
Paige taught at Alderwood Elementary from 1998-2003 and Sunnyland Elementary during the 2003-04 school year. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound and his master’s degree and K-12 principal’s endorsement from Western Washington University.
The Blaine School District is looking for nominations for the state teacher of the year contest.
District parents, students, community members and staff are welcome to nominate any current teacher for consideration in the statewide contest.
Nomination forms are available in each district building. Two district nominees will be recommended to move on to the regional stage of the competition. The Northwest Educational Service District will nominate one teacher in the region to compete against seven others from around the state for the title, which also includes a $6,000 prize and trip to Washington, D.C.
Nominations are due by March 14.