On Saturday, May 21, VFW District 1 recognized four local teachers for their efforts to promote American history, traditions and institutions. Two of them work in the Edmonds School District. Teachers are typically nominated by school administrators for this recognition.
The District’s Middle School Teacher of the Year is Lori Kutrich who teaches at Terrace Park School. She was nominated by Principal Mary Freitas who described Lori as a “tireless advocate for America, patriotism, and the meaning of being an American.” For the past ten years, Lori has taught in the Edmonds School District’s Challenge Program, which is designed for highly capable students. Every year, Lori’s students participate in the VFW’s student essay program. Lori is described by parents and students, alike, as a “wonderfully gifted educator who brings passion to the classroom and serves as a fabulous role model.” Others recognize her as a “warm, approachable, sensitive and caring professional.”
Chris Brown was named Runner Up as the District 1 High School Teacher of the Year. Chris’ teaching career started in 1976 and has been entirely in the Edmonds School District. For more than 20 of those years, Chris has worked with the district’s at-risk youth at Scriber Lake High School. He was one of the founders of the District’s INSTEP Program, which is an integrated outdoor education program that provides students with team building, self discovery, and risk taking experiences while hiking and camping. Scriber Lake High School Principal Andrea Hillman describes Chris as a person who “exudes peace and kindness and is a champion of healthy living.” Chris has served as a Washington State assessment trainer and has been a member of learning subject writing teams. Though Chris retired two years ago, he still teaches the INSTEP program and volunteers his time to tutor Scriber Lake students.
VFW District 1 also recognized Nancy Thompson, a music teacher at Serene Lake Elementary as Elementary Teacher of the Year. Charles “Tuck” Gionet, a teacher at Snohomish High School, was posthumously awarded the High School Teacher of the Year award, as he died from cancer in August 2015.