June 22, 2020
This Special Edition of the EFOCUS is a bit belated but comes from the Heart. I imagine for all of us, it has been challenging to authentically celebrate our members and our union leaders in the ways that truly recognize their contributions to our students’ lives, our professions, our schools and each other. Below are statements submitted by some members who are retiring or separating from service, some after decades of being a part of the HEA community. Amy Hepburn and Janet Dockery are two of my mentors in the union who I wish to publically thank here, along with an early teaching partner of mine, Andrea O’Ferrall, who also has taught me so much. Sprinkled in this group are also former union leaders.….Please take a few moments on this sunny day to read their statements.
Linda Barker, Teacher-Librarian, Marvista Elementary
I spent the early years of my career in education teaching fourth grade in the Edmonds School District. During some years while raising my family, I substituted in K-12 classrooms in both the Highline and Tukwila School Districts. I have for the last twenty-three years been at Marvista Elementary serving as both a fourth grade teacher and Teacher-Librarian. All five of my children have attended and graduated from Highline Public Schools which prepared them for higher education and successful career paths. I highly value and treasure the life lessons, skills developed, memories made, relationships formed with colleagues, students, and families over these many years. I am looking forward to more dedicated time devoted to family, travels, and interests. Since childhood there was always a rush of excitement stepping into a classroom and that excitement has continued whether I was stepping into the classroom to learn or to teach. Usually the teacher learned the most. With a keen sense of curiosity, I am sure I will continue to find my way into classrooms.
Brenda Burnett, OTR/L, Shorewood Elementary
I’ve been an occupational therapist with the Highline School District since 2013, I have served students at Hazel Valley Elementary, Valley View pre-k, Cascade Middle School, Evergreen High School and, most recently, Shorewood Elementary. In my previous career, after teaching English in China for 2 years in the mid-80’s, I earned my MA in teaching English and then spent 20 years as an English language instructor in the University of Washington’s English Language Programs. Over the years, my interest in the natural world has grown, so I’m looking forward to spending more time outdoors exploring our beautiful state and learning more about the plants and creatures that live here.
Jill Price Crawley, Fashion Design and Marketing Instructor, Puget Sound Skills Center
After spending time as a designer in the ski industry for K2, Roffe, and also many years at Union Bay Sportswear, I made the choice to work in education. My goal was to work 5 years, and then re-enter the industry. With a 3 year old and another child on the way in my second year of teaching, my 5 years grew into 5 x 5… +3 more years for good measure! My 28 years in education has been a great experience and has given me a better perspective on life, as well as what others need, how they learn and compassion for others! Puget Sound Skills Center is an incredible learning facility where students are able to really make strides toward their future, and I’m very proud to have been a member of the teaching team. Thank you to all of my colleagues for their patience, guidance and sharing of knowledge throughout the years. I know that I am truly blessed to have had this experience. Now, I will spend time ramping up our line of clothing, Swirlvintage.com, and continuing to travel with amazing husband, Tim Crawley, family and friends. Wishing everyone many years of retirement in good health.
JoDeen Cushman, Instructional Coach/ECEAP, Program Manager/Valley View Early Learning Center
I have taught 37 years, 31 of them being in Highline: Developmental Special Education preschool teacher, blended ECEAP/special education preschool teacher, and Instructional coach. I moved to Valley View Early Learning Center when it opened 13 years ago and have been there since. I treasure the time I have spent at Highline, where I have been able to grow professionally as a teacher and a coach, and have worked with wonderful people who have supported and challenged me. My hope is for all teachers and school support staff to find joy in the work you are doing with children, families and adults and to know that you ARE making a difference in the lives of others.
Janet Dockery, Occupational Therapist, Beverly Park Elementary
I have been working in Highline for 29 years, and as Occupational Therapists for 38 years in schools as well as in a variety of pediatric settings. As I retire, I continue to love Occupational Therapy and serving children and families. Over the last 27 years I have worked at Beverly Park Elementary as well as virtually every school in the district. While I have considered shifting to other therapy settings, I decided to stay with public schools because we serve ALL students. It has also been my pleasure and honor to represent the Physical and Occupational Therapists as their HEA Rep off-and-on for a number of years. I remain passionate about HEA and encourage all members to be actively involved in our union. It is a way to stand up for the needs of our members but it is an equally powerful voice that advocates for the needs of our students.
Amy Hepburn, Elementary School Counselor, Mount View Elementary
My 19 years in Highline as an elementary counselor have been rich, challenging, and very satisfying. I have had the extraordinary privilege to work with so many amazing educators. My participation in HEA brought a lot of personal and professional growth, most of which I didn't expect, but all of which I will cherish. Being a building representative, supporting members collectively and individually, has been a deep honor. You have allowed me to be a delegate to WEA RA and NEA RA, a member of the Rainier UniServ Board, and a co-facilitator of the HEA WEA-PAC efforts. I thank you for the trust you gave me in all these roles. We are in an extremely critical period in our nation's history, and in the history of labor unions. I urge you to step up and contribute to our union, our district, and to our communities. From the great songwriter Pete Seeger, "Which side are you on?"
In Solidarity, Amy Hepburn
Patrick Lamb, Former Tyee High School
Eighteen years with HSD - Sixteen at Tyee HS (Global Connections HS) and two as a floater sub. The glory years were under the guidance of principal Rick Harwood at Global Connections HS. Small schools was a great solution for the Tyee Campus and I was happy to be part of it. We had some great retreats at Waskowitz and enjoyed watching the students grow to graduate and begin their out-of-school adventures. It was good to conclude my career in the district where I graduated - Highline HS, class of 1966.
Terry Nelson, Intermediate Classroom Teacher, North Hill Elementary
I began my teaching career in Ohio in 1979, then taught in a small private school in Seattle. During my 34 years of teaching in Highline, I have taught at Salmon Creek, Olympic, and North Hill. I have spent the bulk of my time teaching 4th and 5th grades. I feel a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to have done this important work. I will truly miss my amazing 4th graders, their families, and my North Hill co-workers. I feel joy thinking about spending more time with my family and being a grandma! I still care a lot about what happens in the world of education, and I send my best wishes to those who continue to teach.
Andrea O’Ferrall, Intermediate Classroom Teacher, Shorewood Elementary
It is pretty amazing that I have been at Shorewood Elementary my whole teaching career—26 years. While I am 8 years from retirement, I have come to realize that the climate emergency can’t wait! I need to do all I can to help deal with this massive problem now. When a friend wrote “Thank you for helping save the world for our children and grandchildren,” I thought “wow, what I am doing must be powerful!” But me, myself, and I can’t do this alone. ALL of us need to stop looking away as we have been doing with racism in our midst. ALL of us must realize the WE are the problem. Please listen to such inspiring environmentalists as Katherine Hayhoe, Naomi Klein, George Monboit. Realize that our capitalist global economy is destroying the planet at a faster and faster rater. Support the New Green Deal and DON’T LOOK AWAY!
Others to Celebrate. In addition to those submitting statements, we would like to honor Bruce Baker (Physical Therapist); Gerard Brule (Science Teacher, Highline High School); Howard Collier (PSSC); Mary Kratz (Speech and Language Pathologist, Cedarhurst); Brett MacDonald (Social Studies, Glacier—formerly at Bow Lake and a longtime HEA Rep); Janet Large-Moore (Special Services, Cedarhurst); Ricardo Vargas, (American History, Sylvester Middle School).
Thanks to HEA Building/Program Reps: We would be remiss if we did not also thank those who have served us and are leaving the district. You will truly be missed: Ali Morgan, Shannon Dowdy (HS Exec Board & HHS), Riel Laplant (RAHS) Joey LeBeau (MRHS), Tom Williams (Sylvester), Trancy Caldwell (Bow Lake), Tamasha Emedi (Hazel Valley), Andrea O’Ferrall (Shorewood), Luke Reichley (White Center Heights), Amanda Koning (Valley View), Janet Dockery (OTs/PTs) Amy Hepburn (Counselors).
This is the time of year when leaders cycle out of positions even while they stay in HPS. The HEA office, however, is not always the most up-to-date on changes to the Rep Council so my apologies if you name is missed. On behalf of the HEA membership, we would like to send our appreciation to Building/Program Reps who we know are staying in Highline but moving into new HPS places or HEA spaces to support us: Tom Blodgett (Bow Lake); Grace Whitney, Jessica Stein, and Stephannie Franks (all at Cedarhurst); Diana Prkut (Hilltop); Amy Moore (McMicken); Renee Agatsuma, Jessic Birch, Karter Rosner (all at MRHS).
Many thanks to Debby Strayer, for her service on the WEA Board of Directors which involved many hours of support to the HEA Executive Board. She was recently selected as a RUC Council Member. We extend our appreciation to Jeb Binns for his many years of service as President of the Rainier UniServ Council. He will continue on the WEA Board as a NEA State Director. Please email Sandy Hunt to learn more about the many types of committee member and leadership opportunities available to you in the coming year.
Our membership and our students appreciate all you have done to support our needs as well as the work you have done to improve the educational experience for all learners.
There is one last celebration, this morning we received the following news from WEA President Larry Delaney, which I am pleased to share here.
Good morning WEA Board,
It is with great excitement that I announce that the Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern (APIM) Caucus is now an officially recognized WEA caucus. For information on how to join the APIM Caucus, please contact Terry Addison.
Please consider joining any or all of our WEA caucuses. There is typically a separate fee (relatively nominal) to join as a member or an ally. Caucus options for HEA members are: APIM Caucus, BATs Caucus, Black Caucus, Early Educators, Latinx Caucus, LGBTQ Caucus, Women’s Caucus. There are also NEA Caucuses we can join. I will continue to highlight these caucuses and those at the national level in the EFocus, and you can often find their FB page for information on how to join or email me for more information.