Position: High School Generalist and Special Education Teacher
School: Tundra Swan Academy
School District: Lower Kuskokwim School District
City, State: Bethel, Alaska
About the Nominee: Sarah Trieff was nominated by a colleague, Jerry White. Mrs. Trieff has taught for more than two decades, mostly in facilities with at-risk youth. She has been with Tundra Swan Academy (TSA) for two years. TSA serves Lower Kuskokwim School District students at the McCann Treatment Center (MTC), a Residential Psychiatric Treatment Center (RPTC) located in Bethel, AK. MTC provides clinical psychiatric and substance abuse services for 14 Alaskan youth between the ages of 10 and 18.
After becoming the lead teacher at TSA, Mrs. Trieff aligned the curriculum to state standards, corrected all of the errors in students' records and got TSA accredited through the AdvanceED Accreditation Commission. She spends many hours with students who need extra tutoring, and she also assists the night staff when a student is in crisis. As a result, Mrs. Trieff has become one of the most trusted staff members in her facility. Many TSA students come to the program with academic abilities far below their age and grade level. Mrs. Trieff has the uncanny ability to help students become focused and motivated enough to learn two years' worth of lessons in a calendar year. While many teachers can be tough or tender, Mrs. Trieff has the ability to be as tough or as tender as she needs to be to meet the needs of each student. As one of two teachers in a school serving grades 5-12 in all subjects, Mrs. Trieff's wide range of knowledge and abilities is tested daily. If she doesn't know the answer, she researches and teaches herself so she can be useful to the program.
It's evident that Mrs. Trieff is a LifeChanger when you read letters and hear comments from prior students who are now productive adults. Their message is always the same: without Mrs. Trieff, they could not enjoy the happiness they now enjoy.