ABERDEEN, Wash. - The 2013 National Teacher of the Year, Jeffrey Charbonneau, will help kick off the new school year with an address to teachers in the Aberdeen School District on Thursday, August 29.
“We are extremely grateful that Mr. Charbonneau accepted our invitation to come to Aberdeen,” Superintendent Thomas Opstad said. He added that several teachers and principals from Aberdeen have heard Mr. Charbonneau speak and are pleased their fellow educators will also get to experience the same motivation they felt when hearing him talk about working with students of all abilities.
Mr. Charbonneau is a high school chemistry, physics and engineering teacher in Zillah, Washington. He’s been working in this position for his entire 12-year teaching career. He recognizes that many students see his course subjects as the “hard” science classes and he welcomes the challenge to overturn the stigma. His classes feature a unique robotics challenge and other interactive learning experiences that see high percentages of students succeed in college-level coursework in a high school setting.
The back-to-school event for staff is co-sponsored each year by the Aberdeen School District and the Aberdeen Education Association. Joan Lesman, president of the AEA and a teacher at Miller Junior High School, is among those who have heard Mr. Charbonneau’s presentation. “I thought he was a very inspiring and enthusiastic teacher who is a ‘real’ teacher,” she said.
Mr. Charbonneau was a member of the William O. Douglas Honors College at Central Washington University and he holds a bachelor of science degree in biology. He also holds a master’s of education from Central Washington University and is a National Board Certified teacher. He has received numerous awards, among them various business donations and grants totaling more than $25,000 to support the Zillah High School Robot Challenge, of which he is founder and director. Jeff is also co-president of the Zillah Education Association.
In addition to his role as a science instructor at Zillah High School, Mr. Charbonneau is a yearbook advisor, drama assistant director, science club advisor, and is the 9th grade class advisor. He is an adjunct faculty member at three colleges and universities, allowing students who take his classes to earn up to 24-college credits upon successful completion.
In order for students to earn college credit, Mr. Charbonneau’s classes are more rigorous, but he says they are designed to be accessible. He’s created interactive learning experiences, like the robot challenge, to help students develop confidence in their abilities.
“I believe my greatest accomplishments are revealed each time a student realizes that he or she has an unlimited potential,” he says. “The rest are simply vehicles to make it happen.”
Mr. Charbonneau became eligible for consideration as the national teacher of the year when he was named Washington state’s teacher of the year. During this official year of recognition, the national teacher of the year is released from classroom duties to travel nationally and internationally as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession.
Freshmen and Seniors at Aberdeen High School begin the 2013-2014 school year on Monday, August 26. The first day of school for all other students in grades 1-12 is Wednesday, September 4. Preschool and kindergarten students start school on Monday, September 9, to allow time for parent conferences to take place September
More back-to-school information is available at www.asd5.org.