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Davis and Fairchild ‘Teachers of the Year’

POULSBO — One teacher brings the past alive in her classroom.

The other helps guide his students into a foreign culture.

This year, Vinland Elementary’s Colleen Fairchild and Spectrum Community School’s Phil Davis have been named as the recipients of the Rangvald Kvelstad North Kitsap Teacher of the Year Award.

“It’s nice that the Poulsbo and North Kitsap community has this kind of recognition. It does make a difference,” Davis said.

The award is given to one elementary and one secondary teacher each year.

Fairchild, who has taught at Vinland for four years, said she was surprised and complemented by the award.

“I felt honored — it’s an honor to be recognized,” she said.

In the classroom, where this year she teaches fourth grade, Fairchild said she likes to involve pupils in hands-on projects. Sometimes they perform plays, or sing musicals. Sometimes they build machines or re-enact historical events.

This year, students will build trampoline towers and catapults and embark on a two-month project that helps them learn about the Oregon Trail.

“They’re foraging through the trail right now,” Fairchild said, adding that the students’ enthusiasm helps her remain excited about teaching.

“They’re eager and excited every single day to learn something new,” she said.

While Fairchild brings the outside world into the classroom, Spectrum’s Davis brings students to the outside world.

When he first arrived at Spectrum, Davis helped arranged a culturally-themed trip to Russia for students.

More recently he has concentrated on Mexico. Five groups of students have travelled there to learn about culture, art and history, and the school has hosted three groups of Mexican students as well.

For Davis, the trip is important for exposing students to experiences outside of Kitsap County.

“It’s different than book learning, and a lot more intense,” he said.

Davis was surprised by the award — but not too surprised.

“I knew there was a conspiracy to write good things about our trips to Mexico. And the students I knew to be involved are persuasive,” he remarked.

Davis, Fairchild and the other teachers were nominated by students, staff or community members who filled out application forms explaining the nominee’s work and qualities.

Candidates for the award must be an accredited full- or part-time teacher in either a public or accredited private school in the NKSD area. The nominees must be in their fifth year or more of total teaching experience and third year or more of teaching in North Kitsap. This year’s nominees included Doris Ahrens, Ellen Anderson, Judy Chase, Laurie James, Patti Lachinski, Nancy Mullins and Nancy Pack.

Fairchild and Davis will receive their awards at 7 p.m. May 22 at the North Kitsap School Board meeting in district headquarters. The award has been given since 1988. It is named for a former North Kitsap High School teacher.

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