Pasco Teacher Named ESD 123 Regional Teacher of the Year
PASCO, Wash. -- For the seventh time in
nine years a Pasco teacher has been named the Education Service District 123
Regional Teacher of the Year.
Former Angelou Elementary Two-Way Dual Language
kindergarten teacher Bernice "Bernie" Hanan, who currently teaches at Chiawana
High School, will compete for the Washington State 2014 Teacher of the Year title
in late September.
"You don't get here by yourself,"
says Hanan of the honor. "It is due to the help and guidance of those who have
been here before and have mentored and shared with me."
After spending the last twelve years
teaching five-year-olds, Hanan started this school year at Chiawana High
School, where she is a Spanish teacher. Teaching has been her life, says Hanan.
"I never grow tired of seeing the world through the eyes of children and
watching the wonderment as they are exposed to new ideas and concepts," she
states. "Seeing that light bulb come on is always a thrill. My job is never
dull. For me teaching is not just a vocation, it is the driving force in my
Over the last thirty years of her
career Hanan has taught Kindergarten through 4th grade and Spanish at the
secondary and college levels at public and Christian schools. She has been a
guest lecturer at the University of Eastern Africa in Kenya and has
established, coordinated, and guided student mission trips to Africa and Latin
America to build schools and churches.
The daughter of farm workers with
little formal education, Hanan credits several of her own teachers with having
meaningful influence on her and giving her direction in life. Her fourth grade
teacher saw her potential, always encouraged her, and inspired her to be a
teacher. A professor at Walla Walla University was another teacher who
genuinely cared about her and never gave up on her, even when she had to quit
school a few credits short to work and save money to finish college.
Hanan's greatest accomplishments in
teaching are the successes of her students, she says. She strives for her students
to build connections to each other and the world. As a Two Way Dual Language
teacher, for example, she paired kindergarteners into two-student teams of
English and Spanish speakers. Through this process they learned to value their
partner and, by extension the culture of their partner. Hanan believes the
power of education is learning that everyone has value and the power to improve
Hanan is very active in the District,
her church, and her community. She teaches at the annual Spanish Camp for
District employees and has worked with her school's PEAK! partner Kadlec Clinic
to provide health awareness presentations to kindergartners. At Angelou
Elementary, she held regular parent meetings and provided mini lessons to
parents on how to best help their students as they learn in a new language.
Through her church, Hanan is involved in Pathfinders, a character and
skill-building organization for young people. She runs in and volunteers for
the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and helped establish the Tri-Cities
Diaper Bank, which began as a small resource for low-income families who could
not access daycare without supplying their own diapers and has grown to a large
organization with its own board of directors and a host of funders. She has also
volunteered as a translator at Grace Clinic helping to bridge communication for
low income, uninsured Tri-Citians. She has been able to involve local doctors
and dentists in pro bono work with local families and students through this
By expanding her life experiences
through travel and service, Hanan is able to share her knowledge with her students
while, she hopes, whetting their appetites for wanting to do the same. In or
outside the classroom, Hanan provides her students with the skills to be caring
citizens of the world.
Hanan joins fellow Pasco School
District Regional Teacher of the Year winners Jaime Silva (2012), John Kerr
(2011), Aimee Simington-Pearce (2010), Toni Cuello (2009), Laura Jones (2008),
and Teri Perez (2006). Jones was also named Washington state teacher of the
year for 2008.