Klahowya teacher named CKSD Teacher of the Year

Danyell Laughlin, Central Kitsap School District Teacher of the Year, works one-on-one with many students to help get them on track for graduation. - Steven DeDual/staff photo
Danyell Laughlin, Central Kitsap School District Teacher of the Year, works one-on-one with many students to help get them on track for graduation.
— image credit: Steven DeDual/staff photo

Danyell Laughlin says it is a

team effort.

Danyell Laughlin is more than just an English teacher, according to her colleagues, but she’ll never admit that — even after winning the honor of Teacher of the Year for the Central Kitsap School District (CKSD).

“Did I mention that this is a team effort?” she said.

Laughlin said it was quite an honor to have won, but she is not sure how it happened.

“I’m not sure how that stuff comes about,” she said. “I don’t know the process for it. But I know from a philosophy perspective, I’m not entirely sure there is such a thing as Teacher of the Year. I firmly believe in Teacher of the Minute. On a great day, Teacher of the Period or Teacher of the Day, but Teacher of the Year, I don’t know about that.”

Parents, teachers and administrative staff are all capable of making nominations for the award, according to CKSD,

Laughlin, who teaches at Klahowya Secondary School (KSS), spends two class periods each day teaching sophomore English and then spends the remainder of her day with “students who are not finding the level of success that we would like them to find in their classes,” she said.

Laughlin said one part of her job is finding the reason why a student is not achieving (lack of skills, attendance issues, attitude or other problems) and then to work with that student to find a solution that will lead to success.

Another part of her job is credit recovery, working with students who are not on track to have enough credits to graduate.

“These are students who are in credit jeopardy,” she said. “And they do online classes.”

These students can be in this situation for many reasons, Laughlin said, including transferring from out of the area, having been sick and missed much of a semester or just having missed a one-credit class that is required for graduation.

Of all of the things she does, Laughlin said her most important job is to be a cheerleader.

“It’s 80 percent cheerleading, 20 percent content,” she said. “We know. We heard it when we were kids. How many messages did you get everyday that you weren’t important enough? That you weren’t big enough or smart enough or handsome enough or athletic enough or funny enough. We have to meet these kids where they are and there are a lot of teachers here who do that.”

In a news release, David Beil, CKSD spokesman, said, “Danyell Laughlin is an amazing teacher who goes to great lengths to ensure students have the skills to be successful members of the community. She is relentless when it comes to challenging and supporting students. Mrs. Laughlin’s positive interaction with students encourages them to give their best effort in her classes and this success carries over into their other classes. She also supports students who are not in her classes and, over the last two years, has been directly responsible for ensuring that every student who has been in danger of not graduating due to not meeting standard on the reading and writing WASL has graduated on time. She goes the extra mile to support members of the CKSD and KSS community and her colleagues regularly seek out her knowledge and expertise. Mrs. Laughlin is a conscientious teacher who sets high expectations for herself and her students. She challenges students while providing them appropriate direction, guidance and support so they will be successful. Klahowya Secondary School and Central Kitsap School District are better because of Danyell Laughlin’s passion, dedication and commitment.”

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