Challenging. Rewarding. Enjoyable.
That is how teachers Kathy Beckman and Penny Andrews describe their time in the classroom.
Beckman is a reading specialist at Lacamas Elementary in Camas. Andrews is a fourth-grade teacher at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary in Washougal.
Both have been named Teachers of the Year by the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Riverview Community Bank.
Today, the two were honored at the annual awards banquet at Camas Meadows Golf Club, along with Business of the Year, Lacamas Community Credit Union, and Citizen of the Year, Carrie Schulstad.
She began her teaching career in the Evergreen school district before pursuing a master’s degree in reading. Since then, Beckman has spent the last 10 years as the Lacamas Heights Elementary reading specialist.
“It’s my belief that being a proficient reader is a key ingredient to most successes in life, and I consider it a privilege to spend my days helping a wonderful array of clever and inquisitive children work toward bettering their futures by becoming better readers,” she said “One thing I have discovered and enjoy about this line of work is that every day is different than the one before.
“Although the challenges are many, the work is rewarding with plenty of opportunities to laugh, have fun and learn something new.”
Beckman added that being successful overall comes only when many people unite together and do their jobs well.
“I am simply grateful to be a part of their team,” Beckman said. “It feels nice to be recognized for doing well, but I work with a great team.”
Beckman has lived in Camas for more than 21 years. Outside of teaching, she enjoys gardening, photography, painting and reading.
She has been teaching at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary for seven years. Before that, Andrews did long-term substituting for two years in middle schools in other districts.
She is also a National Board Certified teacher, which requires completing a lengthy portfolio and passing a rigorous exam.
“I am very honored to be selected for Teacher of the Year,” she said. “I feel fortunate to work with colleagues who are extremely talented and dedicated. It is a great opportunity to continue to advocate for children and to ensure that our students receive the best education possible.”
According to Rebecca Miner, assistant superintendent, Andrews’ influence reaches far within the Washougal School district by providing professional development at her own school, as well as another school in the district.
According to Miner, Andrews helped a fellow school develop the best practice methods for teaching math. That school’s fourth-grade state test results were raised from 23 percentage points below the state average to 12-30 percentage points above the state average in a just more than two years.
“Penny exemplifies not only excellent teaching but also a desire to improve learning for all students, not just those in her classroom,” Miner said.
“Her willingness to share and contribute to the education of all students takes her from the level of a great teacher to the level of a great teacher-leader.”