The difference teachers make | Editorial

As the school year draws to an end, there is one clear message to send to the Bremerton High School; try hard, very hard, to replace Madonna Hanna. A 1999 winner of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, a 1992 Point of Light recipient and a Washington state Teacher of the Year finalist, we realize there is no possible way to “replace” Miss Hanna. But, they should try.

We will venture to bet that Miss Hanna will stay with her students long into their adult years. That they will reflect on the poise and sense of mission she taught in room 104 or runway walking, “Milan style” in the first floor hallway outside her classroom. What is special about Miss Hanna, and perhaps unteachable to others, is the respect given to her students as she jostles them through a fashion-based instruction while joining together vocational training with special needs. It’s an educational environment that benefits all.

Recently, Don Brunell, the president of the Association of Washington Business, was in the county spreading his message of more math and science in public education to staff state industry needs, which require people with math skills – mirroring a renewed effort in Central Kitsap schools. The business owners Brunell preached to largely agreed. His lobbying efforts still seek to have the public school system train people to be workers to a greater degree than educate them. The AWB efforts illustrate the very reason why teachers like Miss Hanna in Bremerton and JD Sweet in Central Kitsap, as two examples among many local brilliant teachers, are so needed in the system. They bring truth to power a few hours each week – education properly done – by inspiring respect in their students and showing them the personal benefits and rewards of education through something well done for the sake of education itself.

We venture to say that the two mentioned above have achieved on a daily basis what the federal government cannot, and perhaps never will.


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