Mark Ray, a teacher librarian at Skyview High School in Vancouver, was named the 2012 Washington Teacher of the Year on Monday, cited for his enthusiasm, creativity and efforts to empower teachers through technology.
Score one for the librarians.
Mark Ray, a teacher librarian at Skyview High School in Vancouver, was named the 2012 Washington Teacher of the Year on Monday afternoon, besting eight more traditional teachers from across the state, including a Seattle elementary-school arts teacher.
He said he plans to use the award to advocate for the importance of school libraries.
“Many people look at school libraries and teacher librarians as something that can be cut,” he said, alluding to recent budget cuts that have targeted school librarians. “I firmly believe that they are essential to the 21st century.
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“We need to teach students how to be safe and effective digital citizens,” he added.
Ray, who works primarily with classes that come to the library to use its resources for research papers, described his job as “working to make sure students are effective users and producers of information.”
He won the honor, given annually by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, because of his enthusiasm and creativity, said Dan Newell, the assistant superintendent for secondary education and school improvement.
“His efforts to empower teachers with technology and new communication skills are infused with a sense of urgency and possibility,” Newell said while introducing Ray. “Whether using Google Docs, Prezi or the pop-culture phenomena of vampires, Mark is constantly reminding teachers that they have more control than they realize to dream and create new ways of engaging students.”
Ray works in the same school district where his father taught and his mother served lunch, Newell added.
The other eight finalists were honored Monday as regional teachers of the year. In the Seattle region, Gatewood Elementary School arts teacher Julie Trout was recognized for her use of art as a vehicle to teaching other subjects.
Ray’s win enters him into a competition for the national Teacher of the Year award, which will be given in the spring.
Brian M. Rosenthal: 206-464-3195