Position: Seventh and Eighth Grade Project Lead The Way (Engineering) / Science Teacher
School: Washington Middle School
School District: Bakersfield City School District
City, State: Bakersfield, California
About the Nominee: Ken Walker was nominated by Adela Gonzalez. Mr. Walker is more than the ideal teacher; he is a leader. He has demonstrated outstanding leadership and superior patience, and he commands deep respect among his colleagues and students. Every year, he shows more fire and excitement for teaching than the year before. He truly has a passion, drive, desire and heart to educate and encourage young students by providing transformative learning experiences, such as being a leader for Project Lead the Way.
Mr. Walker has introduced the skill of engineering in the classroom. This has catapulted his students' ability to think more creatively. They are able to develop skills at the seventh and eighth grade level so they gain an understanding and appreciation for science and education. His classroom is a safe haven for students; they enjoy coming into his classroom during school hours and after school just to say hello and see what other projects he may be working on. Many of the students come from low-income families, or they come from families where they don't have the support they need. Mr. Walker has been instrumental in these students' lives. They now feel like they have a chance and a choice to pursue higher education for themselves, and they encourage other students to do the same. Ms. Gonzalez states that it has been a pleasure and a true joy to see him every year changing a child's life, one student at a time! He is definitely a LifeChanger and a special educator at Bakersfield City School District.