"Teachers of the Year" honored at school board

Published on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 by Ian Ferguson

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In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week proclaimed by governor Jay Inslee, the Blaine school district honored its “Co-Teachers of the Year” at a school board meeting April 22.

Sheri Jansma, 8th grade science teacher, was recognized for her science leadership within the school district and her guidance in initiatives such as North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership, Clinically Rich Integrated Science Program and the Whole School Success Partnership. She also served as a common core leader, and has partnered under a co-teaching model to support students with special needs.

“Sheri has been a tireless advocate for high-quality professional development,” said Blaine Middle School principal Darren Benson. “We’re very fortunate to have her leadership and expertise.”

Kathy Swindler, 5th grade teacher, has worked for the Blaine school district for 33 years. As a member of the Blaine Elementary School Level Leadership Team, she helps make curriculum and assessment decisions at the elementary school. Blaine Elementary School principal Craig Baldwin said she has built a reputation for combining academic rigor and caring relationships with all of her students.

“You walk into her classroom, and you immediately get the sense that the kids love having her as a teacher,” Baldwin said. “Her skill and dedication to the profession have been a huge asset to our school over the years.”

Teacher appreciation week runs May 5 – 11. The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) selected Blaine High School teacher George Kaas as a state leader in the Navigation 101 program. He has been invited to a conference with leaders from 17 other high schools in the state to share successful teaching practices.

High school principal Scott Ellis said 118 students should graduate this June. He said all BHS students met a new requirement this year for all high school students to have three math credits, including advanced algebra, and pass a high-stakes algebra and geometry test in order to graduate.

“That’s quite an accomplishment,” he said.

In other news, work continues to proceed through the district. Operations supervisor Jim Kenoyer reported that the capital improvements project is on track, with contractors and subcontractors assigned and efforts to coordinate the 51 workdays of the project underway.

Business manager Amber Porter gave commissioners an update on district financials and budget status. In the event that state legislators reduce the education budget, the administration has already prepared for cuts to the district’s budget.

“The [state] house [of representatives’] budget we’ve seen is K-12 friendly,” said Blaine superintendent Ron Spanjer. “This is a contingency as we wait for congress to make its decision.”

The last day of the state legislature’s scheduled session is April 28 and a decision on the budget is expected before then.

The board accepted the resignations of high school science teacher Mike Couto and English teacher Vivian Blecker, effective at the end of this school year.