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Dressler, Hale win Teacher of the Year awards

Suquamish Elementary teacher Kristy Dressler presents math awards to Daniel Nguyen, center, and Tim Gallagher. Dressler was one of two recipients of the Teacher of the Year award for the 2010-11 school year.  - Kipp Robertson/ Herald
Suquamish Elementary teacher Kristy Dressler presents math awards to Daniel Nguyen, center, and Tim Gallagher. Dressler was one of two recipients of the Teacher of the Year award for the 2010-11 school year.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Herald

POULSBO — For Suquamish Elementary School teacher Kristy Dressler, being awarded the Rangvald Kvelstad Teacher of the Year award was unexpected.

“It does feel a little strange to be awarded for something you just love to do,” Dressler said.

Dressler and North Kitsap High School mathematics teacher Jeffrey Hale were awarded Kvelstad Teacher of the Year honors by the North Kitsap Teacher of the Year Foundation on June 9.

Dressler began her teaching career at Suquamish 10 years ago as a fifth-sixth grade loop teacher. She now teaches a fourth-fifth loop class, because sixth grade was moved to the middle school level.

Looping refers to the practice of a teacher remaining with the same group of students for more than one school year. For example, a teacher who teaches a third-grade class then goes on to teach the same students, the following year, in the fourth grade.

A writer, Dressler incorporates her own work in the classroom. She said writing is a way to let students express themselves while building confidence.

According to some of her students, the excitement she builds in the classroom expands throughout all curriculums.

Fourth-grade student Chloe Bateman said every student at the school seems to want to be in her class. Along with being proficient at every subject, Chloe said Dressler creates a positive attitude that is not easily matched.

“When we’re all down, she makes us laugh,” Chloe said. “She’s like a second mom.”

Destiny Oxford, a new addition to Dressler’s fourth-grade class, said in the past she has noticed students doing things such as asking to use the bathroom just to get out of class. Those kind of activities don’t go on in Dressler’s class, she said, because everyone wants to be there.

“I guess when a teacher is up in front of a classroom and is excited about what he or she is doing, the kids will be too,” Dressler said.

After student teaching at Ordway Elementary School on Bainbridge Island, she was hired by then-principal Joe Davalos. Under Davalos’ and current principal Jon Torgerson’s leadership — and the teachers she has worked with — she has become the teacher she is today.

“She’s nice and thoughtful and gives us high-fives at the door,” fourth-grader Jade Jefferson said. “She even visits our baseball games.”

Hale, the North Kitsap High School mathematics teacher, is constantly in competition with distractions. Like other teachers, engaging his students is a top priority. Keeping them interested in math, however, is no easy task.

“I try and be really animated,” Hale said. “I have to compete with cell phones and ‘when’s lunch?’ ”

North Kitsap High School principal Kathy Prasch said hiring Hale is something she continues to be proud of. Along with engaging students, she said Hale engages parents as well.

Engaging parents in the learning process has become a mission for Hale. Because not all parents seem to have the time to give to their students’ work, he holds informational nights to get parents up to speed. He makes sure the parents know how to reach him.

“Our new text is very long and in-depth,” he said, adding that the only way to really understand is to attend class. “Some of the parents were lost.”

Hale began his first teaching position in 1995. In college, he minored in math and majored in psychology.

He admits that when he was in school, math was not his strongest subject. However, his teaching style continues to engage students and he doesn’t “teach from the desk.”

Hale team-taught with Mike McCorkle for three years. Though they did not team-teach during the 2010-11 year, they will next year and McCorkle is “definitely the reason I’ve been so successful.”

 

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