Kirk Dodge

Position: Math Teacher

School: Columbia Junior High School

School District: Fife Public Schools

City, State: Fife, Washington

About the Nominee: Kirk Dodge is an educator in the truest sense of the word! As a union leader, he consistently looks at what is best for the students in the Fife School District, but not to the detriment of the teachers that educate these students. His transparency in all situations allows him to create personal relationships that move education forward in in the district. All of this is done without losing sight of his classes. More specifically, his students are the first priority. Although he is regarded as one of the finest teachers in Fife, Mr. Dodge challenges himself every day to look at his craft and get better when he sees an opportunity to do so. Also, he is a leader at the school and department level that works with everyone to get things done. When working with district staff on the curriculum, he does not allow personal pride to get in the way of re-examining the work that kids do. When working with building administration, he ensures that initiatives are in the best interest of students and when deemed so, he supports them wholeheartedly. Finally, his best asset is working directly with students, especially those who are the hardest to work with. Mr. Dodge proves to his students that they can be successful. He is one of the finest teachers and human beings one could meet!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="kdodge@fifeschools.com"]

Daniel Triplett

Position: Art Teacher

School: Bordeaux Elementary School

School District: Shelton School District

City, State: Shelton, Washington

About the Nominee: Daniel Triplett was nominated by his principal, Carey Murray. Mr. Triplett has been a teacher at Bordeaux for 28 years. He taught kindergarten for eight years before beginning the fine arts program at the school, working off of a cart prior to being given a classroom. He has made such a difference in the lives of so many students! Some of his adult students have returned to Bordeaux to talk about how much of a positive impact he had when they were in kindergarten. Over the last 20 years, he has impacted students in a positive way in his art classes, too. Many students who struggle with the general curriculum can experience success in art. Mr. Triplett finds a way to capitalize on each student's talents, and he always is amazed by what they can do. He shares his expertise and what his kids are doing on his blog: http://artmakeskidssmart.blogspot.com/.

Mr. Triplett also coordinates and runs Bordeaux's Safety Patrol program. He started this because he saw a need for it. Six years ago, he went to the principal and stated, "We need to beef (the Safety Patrol program) up, and our kids need more guidance and supervision. The fifth grade teachers don't have the time, but I can do this." Safety Patrol is another place where students who struggle academically can experience some success. It is also an opportunity for him to connect with students - something he does a fantastic job of. Additionally, he willingly jumps in to cover a class if Bordeaux is short a substitute teacher because he knows how important it is for the students to have consistency in their classroom. The week prior to his nomination, he covered a class for two days. Mr. Triplett is retiring at the end of this year, and the community outside of the school wants him to know how deeply he is appreciated as an educator and LifeChanger!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="dtriplett@sheltonschools.org"]