Auburn School District Teachers of the Year
The ASD Board of Directors will recognize the ASD Teachers of the Year at 7 p.m., May 13 in the James P. Fugate Administration Building.
High School Teacher of the Year-Janet Tarsi
Janet Tarsi, Auburn High School DECA and marketing teacher, is the high school teacher of the year.
A graduate of Central Washington University, Janet taught at Auburn High for four years before taking a hiatus to stay home with her children. She enthusiastically returned to Auburn High in 2015 and resumed teaching the marketing program she is passionate about.
Janet is dedicated to student learning and has a natural ability to capture the hearts of her students to get them to achieve at their highest potential. She is committed to working with staff and students to invigorate Auburn High and increase the sense of school cohesion and community service.
Janet leads by example. After challenging staff to be more public and overt in celebrating students, she put up a Wall of DECA Diamonds, highlighting kids who have done good work. Her peers have emulated her example. Her DECA students are actively involved in rebranding Auburn High to increase the sense of community and cohesion. The impact of this work is displayed with many positive messages and posters that now adorn the school walls.
She goes the extra mile to make all students feel welcome, and in doing so, she is able to set high expectations in her classes and her students respond by doing amazing things.
Janet said, “I love the connections with kids. I love learning their stories.”
In addition to being a leader at school, she is committed to developing community-minded students. Over the last four years, she has led her students in working with Valley Regional Fire Authority to deliver toys during the holiday season, created care bags for people experiencing homelessness, lead the food drive to support the Auburn Food Bank, started the now annual Pink-Out Tailgate event to support cancer research, is co-creator of the Bob Jones Service Scholarship and much more.
Assistant Principal Roger Lee said, “Janet embeds community service, volunteerism and caring for others in every aspect of her curriculum, her work with students and her interaction with her peers.”
Janet grew up in Battle Ground. Her husband Vince teaches at Lake View Elementary and they have three children. In her spare time, Janet and her family like to travel to warm places. They are a Disney family and have twice had the opportunity to be the Disney Family of the Day at Disneyworld.
Middle School Teacher of the Year-Sandra Luettgen
Sandra Luettgen, Cascade Middle School English/language arts teacher and instructional specialist, is the middle school teacher of the year.
Sandra graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a bachelor’s in religion and earned her master’s in teaching at City University. She has spent her entire 29-year education career in the Auburn School District, the last 24 years at Cascade.
With a calm demeanor and positive attitude, Sandra consistently demonstrates highly effective teaching and leadership. She uses research-based effective teaching practices to support and challenge all students.
She collaborates with elementary school staff on smooth transitions for incoming sixth graders and their families. She believes each student has a right to a rigorous education and it is our responsibility as educators to provide it. In addition to her strong teaching, she also builds strong relationships with the most challenging students. She inspires students’ belief that they can and will be successful in her class.
As instructional specialist, she leads staff development for the language arts staff, including collecting and reviewing data, supporting PLC meetings and adjusting student programs. She is the go-to person for matters relating to the new English/language arts curriculum.
Sandra connects with students and families at numerous after-school activities. She regularly attends athletic events, community suppers, concerts and organizes Cascade Dance. She perceives her role not only a teacher, but also as cheerleader, mentor, coach and encourager. She has a tremendous positive impact on the teaching profession, students and the school community.
Another aspect of Sandra’s extra-curricular work includes being instructional director for a week at Camp Auburn. She has served in this role for the last 24 years. At Camp Auburn, she works with teachers and the high school students serving as camp counselors.
Sandra said, “Camp is amazing. It gives kids who have never had the chance to be outdoors or experience nature the opportunity to have a real sense of belonging and to experience the outdoors.”
Sandra grew up in Tacoma and lives in Auburn. She and her husband of 39 years, Kim, have two adult children, both who are Auburn High graduates. Daughter Jocelyn is a teacher at Hazelwood Elementary and son Garrett is an emergency room doctor in Philadelphia. She has three grandsons. In her spare time, she is an avid hiker and enjoys playing soccer.
Elementary Teacher of the Year-Jill Woodruff
Jill Woodruff, Alpac Elementary kindergarten teacher, is the elementary teacher of the year.
Jill grew up in Puyallup and attended Pacific Lutheran University where she earned her bachelors in elementary education. She student taught at Alpac and was hired right out of college eight years ago. She earned her masters in curriculum and instruction and her ELL endorsement from the University of Washington, Tacoma.
Jill cares deeply for each of her students. Her passion is for students whose second language is English. For the last five years, she has run a bilingual jump-start kindergarten summer school. This led her to recognize the need for additional support for English learners. This year, she developed a heritage language kindergarten class. She instructs in both English and Spanish and instills in her students the challenge as well as the super power that is, being bilingual. The students and families in her class are engaged and valued.
“I chose to become an educator because I wanted to be a role model for young Latino students,” Jill said. “I love the students and the families. The heritage class is making a huge difference for my students.”
Jill is a leader in her building and in the community. She is part of the building leadership team, Deep Equity team, was a Puget Sound ESD teacher leader blogger for three years and is a member of the Educators of Color Leadership Community. She is continually working to support educators of color not only in Auburn but throughout the region.
She embraces the power of technology and is generous with her time in support of other teachers. She recently presented at #TechConnect, served on the kindergarten math and kindergarten report card committee and was on the District Technology Advisory Committee.
Jill is Peruvian-American and integrates her personal journey as a bilingual person of color to support students, staff and other educators as they navigate the complex terrain of public education. She is a teacher of action who identifies a problem of practice and leads the way to meaningful change.
“Jill is truly a one-of-a-kind educator,” said Alpac principal Jim Riley.
She and her husband Grant live in Auburn and have an Italian greyhound named Mr. Darcy. They enjoy traveling, particularly to Spain. In her free time, she admits to spending a lot of time on Instagram where she manages pages for her classroom, Mr. Darcy and herself.