Teachers honored

Retiring Mercer Island School District staff are, from left, Mace Brady, Ralph Allen, Gordon Davenport and Janet Brady. - Contributed photo
Retiring Mercer Island School District staff are, from left, Mace Brady, Ralph Allen, Gordon Davenport and Janet Brady.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The Mercer Island School District recognized and thanked this year’s retiring teachers on June 1, acknowledging their years of service in educating the community’s students.

The school district recognized retiring Lakeridge Elementary School Principal Ralph Allen, Mercer Island High School Chinese language teacher Gordon Davenport, Islander Middle School eighth-grade teacher Mace Brady and sixth-grade teacher Janet Brady.

“The quality of education in Mercer Island Schools is because of your dedication,” said MISD Superintendent Gary Plano. “We are grateful and honored to include you among the best employees in public education.”

MISD Teachers of the Year

Gordon Davenport, Angela Carey and Melissa Ralph are the 2009 Mercer Island School District Teachers of the Year. The teachers were nominated by their principals and then selected by a district committee of administrators. Aside from being outstanding educators, the teachers had to demonstrate their commitment to professional growth, community involvement and strengthening the teaching profession.

“We are honored to have [these] three exemplary teachers,” said MISD Superintendent Gary Plano.

Gordon Davenport first began teaching at Mercer Island High School in 1997, starting the school’s Mandarin Chinese Program. Today, the MIHS program educates over 230 students in the language at four levels.

Upon accepting the award, Davenport commended the district for its vision of implementing the program.

“The ways of thinking about it have certainly changed,” he said. “Only a few years ago, who would have thought that Chinese would be what it is today?”

The district recognized volunteer efforts that went above and beyond Davenport’s responsibilities at MIHS, including annual trips to China and leadership responsibilities with the Washington State Chinese Language Teacher’s Network.

Angela Carey, a Lakeridge Elementary School music teacher, was honored for her extracurricular efforts with the school’s steel drum band and co-developing an Adaptive Music Program tailored to students in the Autism Spectrum Program. The festive, musical atmosphere of the school, said Lakeridge Principal Ralph Allen, is due in large part to Carey’s care.

“She is simply an inspiration for our school,” he said.

A National Board Certified Teacher, Carey was recently published in Activate! Magazine and has served as a representative on the Lakeridge Site Council, Principal’s Cabinet and the MISD/MIEA Teacher Evaluation Subcommittee.

Melissa Ralph, now a seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher at Islander Middle School, has taught at schools across the district for over 15 years. According to MISD administrators, she has designed and facilitated local and regional Developing Mathematical Ideas workshops for teachers and developed parent math nights at both Lakeridge and Island Park Elementary schools. She was honored for her work in helping develop the school's math curriculum and is beloved by students in the school, said Principal Mary Jo Budzius, whether they had her class or not.

“It’s amazing to see how she touches their lives,” she said. “She’s a tremendous leader.”

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