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PSESD Announces Regional Teacher and Classified School Employee of the Year

Renton, WA — Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) is thrilled to announce its Regional Teacher of the Year, Shane Monroe from the Bellevue School District, and Regional Classified School Employee of the Year, Jamie Harres, from the Auburn School District. Both recipients were nominated, evaluated, and selected for the awards based on their professional biographies, outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration, in addition to other unique qualities or circumstances.

Teacher of the Year

Shane Monroe (he/him) is an elementary educator teaching fifth grade at Wilburton Elementary in Bellevue. As a gay man, Shane understands the power of unconditional acceptance and affirmations. As an educator of all students, he prides himself in creating a classroom community that centers student-voice, celebrates diversity, and inspires students to explore their intersectionalities in a brave space. Shane is adamant about providing opportunities for students to reflect deeply, question analytically, and engage authentically. As an advocate for equity and inclusion in his building, district, and community, Shane serves as a member of his school’s Leadership, Racial Equity and Inclusion, and Safety Teams, co-facilitates equity trainings, advises fifth grade’s SOAR (Students Organized Against Racism) team, and supports high school interns in Bellevue’s Teaching Academy.

Shane is a powerful voice for equity, inclusion, and student-focused decision making. Recently, Shane collaborated with his peers to craft, promote, and implement adaptable and inclusive curriculum for Black Lives Matter at School Week and partnered with his grade-level team to elevate their Bullying Prevention Unit, by crafting three additional interactive lessons designed to enhance student relationships, increase self-advocacy, and promote kindness through leadership. In Shane’s own words, “One of my core beliefs as an educator is to ensure that students feel affirmed, supported, and heard by the trusted adults in their lives. For me to ensure I am modeling this belief, it is essential I make time to listen to and learn from the students I am supporting.”

Classified Employee of the Year

Jamie Harres, a youth development specialist at Cascade Middle School in the Auburn School District, is recognized as a champion for students. Her many responsibilities include daily student supervision, leading a student leadership group, hosting after-school Homework Club, Anime Club, and Social Justice Club, doing home visits, serving as the campus wellness expert and other duties that support and build relationships with students and families.

Jamie works as a liaison between teachers, students, and families. Her office provides a safe and welcoming place for students who need to de-escalate, work in an alternate environment, or just need a snack or a pep talk. One of Jamie’s favorite things about her job is the relationships she builds with students and watching how they grow from 6th grade to 8th grade.

As Jamie puts it, “these relationships are what keep me going. I love being a person who makes a quiet impact on others simply by being there to listen or assisting them with tools to help them through a rough patch.”

Students, families, and fellow staff members have come to expect clear communication and follow-up with anything she does. As a testament to this, students often reach out to tell her their sibling is entering the school and ask her to connect with them. Parents also contact her with questions because their student advised them that she will have the answer or steer them in the right direction.

Jamie will be completing her bachelor's degree in December and is looking forward to continuing her career in education. She believes that our youth are going to change the world for the better and can’t wait to witness it.

Both award recipients are now qualified as candidates for the Washington State Educator Awards, which will be announced by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in the fall. Teacher of the Year and Classified School Employee of the Year are equal parts recognition and professional development. Regional award recipients participate with their cohort in extensive training in communications, advocacy, and policy. PSESD is one of nine regional educational agencies serving school districts, tribal compact schools, and state approved charter and private schools in Washington. Educational Service Districts, created by the legislature, are an essential regional delivery system for early learning and K–postsecondary services in the state.

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