School Board Members Anne Baunach, Laurie Bishop, Teacher of the Year Heidi Bendt, School Board Members Ray Vefik, and Ryan Van Quill
The Auburn School District selects a teacher of the year for the elementary, middle and high school levels. The three winners this year move on for consideration as the regional teacher of the year through the Puget Sound ESD. The school board will recognize these outstanding teachers at the May 11 board meeting.
Heidi Bendt, Auburn Mountainview High School
Heidi has been teaching English/language arts in the Auburn School District for 25 years and started at Mountainview nine years ago when it opened.
Heidi wants only the best for her students. "I want them to learn. Academics come first, but I want them to know I care. I want them to be not only smart, but good citizens."
She also has been the Service Learning teacher. Her projects have included rebuilding Brannan Park, overseeing the blood drive, toy distribution at Christmas, the Senior-Senior prom, a formula drive for Ethiopian orphans and more. Students not only learn the importance of service to school but also to the local and world community. This year, Heidi traded her service learning courses to establish a new program, Lion's Den, for at-risk students.
Inspired by her father who taught language arts for 37 years in Renton, Heidi truly cares about her students and the community. She has followed her father's advice. "Know the students' names the first week of school. Kill them with kindness. Learn one thing about them."
Kathe Ball, Olympic Middle School
Kathe has been teaching at Olympic for 16 years. Her principal, Jason Hill said, "Kathe has the heart and soul of a teacher. She is passionate about children, education and about getting the job done no matter what."
She has been an outstanding math, reading and language arts teacher. Her efforts as a teacher leader support growth at Olympic. Throughout her career, she has worked with numerous student teachers and mentored new teachers.
She reaches outside of Olympic to make a difference in the local community. She has been a dedicated leader of Builders Club for 10 years. During this time, projects have included collecting funds for Unicef, sending cards to military staff, organizing the creation of 1000 cranes for Marysville-Pilchuck High School and helping at the Food Bank. Her community service with Olympic students connected students to visit local nursing homes, participate in Heart Walks and attend the Veterans Day Parade.
"Everything I do is in conjunction with other people," Kathe said. "I think this is really an award for Olympic, not just me."
Julie McKenzie, Alpac Elementary
Julie has been teaching at Alpac her entire 23-year teaching career. Walk past her classroom and most likely students will be singing a song, reciting a chant or using some other form of mental gymnastics aimed at entrenching a skill or concept into the long-term memory. It's not a typical classroom. But Julie is not a typical teacher, according to Jim Riley, Alpac principal. She is a passionate ambassador for children, a dedicated professional and an inspiring advocate for education throughout the community.
Julie's philosophy of teaching is "If you love kids, they will feel it, and will learn better." Her ultimate goal is to establish a relationship with each student so she can make a lasting, lifelong impression in his or her life.
Julie is a member of the district-level Student Improvement Plan as chair of the climate committee, is a teacher leader, is a member of Alpac's climate committee and is a member of the PBIS leadership team. She has served as a mentor to numerous new teachers and student teachers.
"It's an honor to work with Alpac's incredibly dedicated staff. Kindness always comes first at our school, and it shows," Julie said.
Four Auburn Schools Win State's Highest Honor: 2014 Washington Achievement Award Winners
Four elementary schools received a 2014 Washington Achievement Award sponsored by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education.
The award winners are:
Chinook Elementary for High Progress
Evergreen Heights Elementary for High Progress
Gildo Rey Elementary for Overall Excellence, Reading Growth and Math Growth
Pioneer Elementary for High Progress
Washington Achievement Award winners are selected using the State Board of Education Revised Achievement Index and are based on statewide assessment data for the three previous years.
Update on Superintendent Search
Friday was the deadline for superintendent applicants. Preliminary interviews are scheduled for May 4-6 and the final interviews are scheduled for May 20-22.
After the interview process, the Board will do site visits and reference checks on the strongest candidates.
The new superintendent will be selected during the June 8 Board meeting with a start date of July 1.
Superintendent Kip Herren is retiring July 1 after 41 years in education, 36 years in the Auburn School District.
Voting Is Freedom's Answer
Voter registration forms can also be obtained
from school offices or at the James P. Fugate Administration Building.
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