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Special Edition in Honor of Our Retiring Highline Educators and HEA Leaders

June 4, 2021

Dear Supporter,

This Special Edition of the EFOCUS continues the tradition begun last year.  This issue celebrates our retiring members and our union leaders who are ending their current term of service.  As this most challenging of years wraps up, let their words below help you reflect on the contributions of our profession to our students’ lives, our schools, our communities and each other.  These statements have been submitted by some of the members who are retiring or separating from service, some after decades of being a part of the HEA Community.  Carolyn West and Marty Shorb have given incredibly of themselves to the union, and I wish to publically thank them here.  Several other retirees have been active in the union as well.  Please take a few moments to read all the statements our colleagues have prepared.  

I would also like to share my appreciation for Sandra Aguila, Elementary Board Rep (Madrona ES), who has spent the last six years and countless hours as a member of the HEA Executive Board.  She also has been serving on the Rainier UniServ Council.  (Edissa Jaramillo, Glacier MS, was recently elected to take her place on the RUC.)  Sandra has been a lead voice on the joint DL Committee along with the “WA Kids” Committee.  She has promised, however, to continue supporting the HEA membership and so is jumping in this summer on the bargaining team.  Thank you also to Jeff Steen, Evergreen HS, who is finishing his term as Specialist Rep on the Executive Board.  He has been representing HEA on the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) and will continue to support the future Bond Campaign and provide input on future building replacements.

  Please email me to learn more about the many types of committee membership and leadership opportunities available.

With much appreciation,


HEA President

P.S. HEA Elections are taking place next week for Specialist Rep.  We are rerunning Middle School Rep. for MS teachers only. I extend our appreciation to those who took the time to vote in the first election.  Jeb Binns will be returning as your Vice-President for his second two-year term.  You will be seeing me around for the next two years as well!  The Elementary Rep position remains unfilled as no candidates have stepped forward yet.  Please email me if you would like more information.

P.P.S. Educators in Special Education and Social Workers will be invited to Listening Sessions on June 17 in the PM.  Watch for details in next week’s EFocus and on the HEA Events Calendar.


Bud Jackson, Instrumental & General Music Teacher, Bow Lake Elementary.  I've taught Music for 29 years, since 1992.  I taught Instrumental Music for 17 years in Seattle before moving to Highline.  In Seattle I taught mostly middle & high school Concert Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, Guitar & Piano.  I also taught Elementary Music, Band & Strings in Seattle for two years.  I've conducted over 400 concerts, including 46 out-of-town performance trips to: the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho, the N.W. Orchestra Festival in Oregon, the Quileute Tribal School at La Push, concerts in Victoria & Vancouver Canada, & many other trips, often multiple times.  My students won 18 Jazz Solo Awards & an Orchestra Award!  In Highline I've taught K--6th Music students, and I've particularly enjoyed conducting my Bands, Marimba Groups & Singers in concert at Madrona, Cedarhurst, Parkside, Seahurst & Bow Lake.  I will miss all the great students & staff at these schools, particularly at Bow Lake, my last school!  I'm looking forward to being a Music Substitute starting in Fall, 2021, so I can visit all the Highline Schools!  I'm happy to have been a positive influence in many students' lives, and several of my former Seattle students have been professional musicians for many years!  I strongly believe that Multicultural Music contributes to World Peace, Understanding & Cooperation in many ways that benefit our Global Community!

Carol DeSilva, Olympic and North Hill Elementary. I had the honor of working with the best people in the district at North Hill Elementary for my whole career.  Beginning as a Special Ed teacher, I worked in EBD, PAVE (IAC), and LRC for the first ten years.  In the following years, I taught from first to fourth with third being my favorite.    It will be very strange to not be in the trenches with everyone next year but "Once a Jet always a Jet"! 

Carolyn West, ELL Newcomer & Primary Teacher, White Center Heights, Parkside, Salmon Creek, and Beverly Park Elementary (Longtime BPE HEA Rep).  My first job was working with refugees to help them resettle. In the Bay Area we worked with Romanians and then moved to Seattle to work with Cambodian refugees. During that time we got involved in helping families navigate schools for their children, had refugees live with us, and taught English in our home. I learned to cook Cambodian food and my husband learned the language. (We learn what we love!) I became involved in PTA when my first daughter started Kindergarten at White Center Heights.  When I introduced myself to the Principal, Rick Hanks, the spring before my daughter started he invited me to a PTA meeting and I was voted to be the next PTA president. My love for refugees led me five years later to teaching at White Center Heights where my daughters attended. I have had many mentors in my career who have guided and helped me improve my teaching. After WCH I moved to Parkside and taught 3rd grade for 3 years. Sandy Klein helped me turn my classroom into a cabin as we studied pioneers, reading by the candles we had made. After Parkside I moved to Salmon Creek for 6 years and taught 3rd and 4th grade. My teaching partner Sherril Miller talked me into working with her as we adapted Quest math curriculum and taught teachers the new curriculum. (She was the math expert and I asked, how, why, when.) I have been at Beverly Park Elementary 16 years. When I first started, I taught a 1st, 2nd 3rd grade Newcomer Center, then 2nd grade and now 3rd. It has been a joy teaching children and working with their families.

Christie Brown, Highly Capable Teacher and Program Specialist, Midway and Parkside Elementary, Central Office, (Active on HEA Committees and Des Moines Elementary – Principal).  I believe in relationships between people; when we know one another and support one another, we are powerful. People know they belong when others learn who they are. I came to Highline mid-career soon after leaving a principal position in a nearby district. I left because I did not feel safe in a system that was silent on anti-gay discrimination policies. (This has since been rectified by both the district and state law.) I was tired after 20 years as a closeted gay educator and was welcomed in Highline for who I am as an educator and as a person. Working in Highline allowed me to be whole because I am known here.

I worked with dedicated people at Midway, loved leading Des Moines as an interim for a year, enjoyed my brilliant team at Parkside, and have appreciate the Teaching Learning and Leadership folks who I has missed during this crazy year. Thank you for taking the time to turn to wonder when you don’t understand. We all want to be known, need to be known, and to belong. 

Colene Baker, Midway this year Music Specialist.  Colene taught at 1-3 schools per year for a total of 7 different schools in 7 years.  Colene's career has been an eclectic assortment of experiences.  She started teaching music after graduating with degrees in Music and in Education.  After teaching four years in public and private schools, she worked for a private research company that specialized in energy research.  Here she learned about computers as they were becoming more popular in the business world.  From there she worked for King County as an Education Outreach Specialist where she travelled to hundreds of schools in King County teaching about wastewater treatment and Metro Transit.  She wrote and produced several videos that were used in the education program and with other programs in the Transit Department.  Colene also researched and developed an outreach program that trained bilingual and multilingual citizens about public and non-profit transportation resources in King County.  She then taught these individuals and professionals from various non-profit agencies about the program.  Colene earned a M.A. in Project Management which led to being part of the team for the King County Radio Replacement Project.  This project replaced all the radio equipment in the Transit Radio headquarters and the radios on 2000+ buses.  Downsizing led to the end of her career with King County, so she went back to her first career - Music Education.  Her two children were attending Parkside, so she volunteered at the school to learn about HSD methods and protocols.  From there she did a year as a Guest Teacher and then was hired as an itinerant teacher in music.   Colene says that it's been great to be a part of the HSD family.  “My oldest daughter graduated from MRHS last year, I am retiring from HSD this year and my youngest will graduate from MRHS next year.  It's all in the family.”

Gordan Kadric, ELL Teacher, Tyee High School.  Gordan Kadric has worked as an ELL teacher, gymnastics coach, and interpreter at Tyee High School since 1997, the same year that he immigrated to the US with his family as a refugee from Bosnia. His classrooms were always surrounded by plants. He will be spending his retirement tending to his garden.

Martin Shorb, Science Teacher, Sylvester Middle School.  Building Rep and long-time member of the HEA Bargaining Team.

Michelle M. Juarez, Humanities Teacher, Raisbeck Aviation High School (Former RAHS HEA Rep.) I have spent 21 out of my 22 years teaching in the Highline SD. I spent the first six years of my career teaching English and Social Studies at Tyee HS. I still have fond memories of the supportive staff and students I met there. I left the district for a year, only to return to teach at Aviation High School. I have spent the last 15 years at Raisbeck and have loved my time here. Though I will miss the challenge of creating lessons and learning new content, I plan on enjoying all of the extra time not spent grading essays, in my garden, reading new books, and spending enormous amounts of time outdoors riding my bike, running, and kayaking.

Nancy Hathaway Sparks, Grades 1-2, Gregory Heights Elementary.  I spent my whole career at Gregory Heights!  My first year was teaching up the street from the school in the then kindergarten building in 1987. I called it “Little House on the Prairie.”  It was there I fell in love with Gregory Heights’ families, traditions, and spirit that made me feel committed to spend my entire career there.  I’ve been fortunate to have had a job that was never boring, where time never dragged on and every day was a new adventure.  My career was a blast and I am fortunate to have had great leaders and colleagues who helped me grow. 

Scott Stubberfield, P.E./Health K-12, Sunnydale and Gregory Heights Elementary (Former GHE & PE HEA Rep).  At the age of 40, I went back to school (PLU) and earned a teaching degree. In 1998 I was hired as a P.E./Health Teacher at Cedar Heights Jr. High in the Kent S.D. A few years later I was hired as a P.E./Health Teacher at Sunnydale Elem. in the HSD401. When Sunnydale closed I was relocated to Gregory Heights Elem as a P.E./Health Teacher. During my career in HSD401, I also taught Driver's Education for eight years and was Stadium Manager at Highline Memorial Stadium for eight years. 

Over my teaching career I was incredibly fortunate to teach, work with and interact with thousands of students and many of their family members from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, challenges, and economic situations. I also worked with wonderful co-workers (staff members, maintenance workers, Para's, Counselor's, custodians) that have made me a better person. I have nothing but the highest respect for everyone that works in our public schools. It is my belief that working with our youth is one of the top two or three most important careers a person can choose to do for our society. Our young people continue to need our guidance and support in our public schools to build confidence, self-worth and realize their dreams as they grow into adults.

We would be remiss if we did not also thank those who have served HEA members and those who are leaving the district.  You will truly be missed:  Kenneth Kulk (Pacific MS Rep), Kathleen Murphy (Nurses Rep), and Joe Thomas (MLK KC Labor Council Delegate).

This is also the time of year when leaders cycle out of positions even while remaining in HPS.  The HEA office, however, is not always the most up-to-date on changes to the Rep Council so my apologies if your name is missed. 

On behalf of the HEA membership, our appreciation also extends to Reps who are staying in the district but leaving the HEA Representative Council: Zanovia Clark (Mount View Rep), Jennifer Ferry (Librarian Rep) and Will Henderson (Sylvester). So whether your reps are continuing or cycling off the council, please take a moment to thank them. As one rep recently wrote, "This is easily the most difficult year of being a rep I've ever encountered." I'm sure we all agree on that.