NJH teacher named Northshore Schools Foundation’s Innovative Educator of the Year

Northshore School District (NSD) teacher Trudy Swain has been honored with the Northshore Schools Foundation’s 2017 Innovative Educator Award. Swain is the home arts and consumer science teacher at Northshore Junior High School (NJH), is a Kenmore resident and district parent.

“The 2017 Innovation in Education Award is the highest honor I could receive,” Swain said.

As the 2017 recipient of this award, Swain will receive $2,000 for the continued development of innovative programming in her classroom thanks to support from PEMCO Insurance.

“An innovative classroom can feel a little chaotic, but please come closer and you will hear our groups of students excitedly working through challenges and finding solutions,” Swain said.

Swain is the fourth recipient of the Foundation’s award, which honors a NSD educator who has demonstrated innovation in a way that makes a long-term impact on student learning, according to the foundation.

“Trudy Swain is the kind of educator that goes above and beyond for her students,” said PEMCO Insurance representative Allison Leep. “She’s clearly passionate about educating her students and providing them with the tools they’ll need beyond the classroom. Her commitment to serving the community is woven into her curriculum flawlessly and allows her to engage with her students on a deeper level.”

Swain said that her experience in the Design Thinking Training, through the Henry Ford Institute and an opportunity to explore problem-based learning through the Washington Alliance for Better Schools Externship program have helped her in letting go of control, and asking her students to be part of deciding what they want to learn. That strategy has increased the students’ engagement.

“We’re proud to partner with the Northshore Schools Foundation to sponsor The Innovative Educator Award and highlight the great educators in the Northshore School District,” Leep said.

PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company was founded by a teacher 68 years ago, and Leep said the company is dedicated to serving and supporting the education community.

“We recognize the hard work and dedication that goes into educating our youth and we greatly appreciate those that commit their lives to such noble work,” Leep said.

In 2015, Swain received funding from the Northshore Schools Foundation to support REbel, a student-driven education and prevention program designed to address eating and body image concerns. This NJH pilot program encourages girls to become agents of change and participate in community activism to envision a world in which individuals are valued for who they are rather than how they look.

“Trudy takes her foods curriculum to a whole new level [and] constantly seeks ways to make her curriculum relevant and engaging for her students… She ensures that students apply their learning in a real way by having them participate in service learning projects,” said NJH Principal Tiffany Rodriguez. “She is a positive force in whatever she does,” and is “highly respected in OSPI as a leader in her field.”

Last year, Swain’s class collaborated with a local retirement home to create a vertical gardens project where students designed and built vertical gardens for physically disabled seniors. The class was also instrumental in supporting the Foundation’s partnership with Healthpoint, by baking 500 cookies for participants to enjoy in the Foundation first ever 5K Health for Heroes.

Swain will be one of the featured speakers at the Northshore Schools Foundation annual All In for Kids Luncheon to be held on April 4.

A committee composed of community members and Foundation volunteers chose Swain as the recipient of the award. Debbie Marten of Timbercrest Junior High, Rebecca Moran of Wellington Elementary, Sue Black, Michael Wierusz and Tim Curtis of Inglemoor High School and Donna Mattheis of NJH were also nominees for the award.

Previous Innovative Educator Award winners include Pat McCue, Bothell High School, Robert Morgan from Secondary Academy for Success and Deborah Fullerton from Moorlands Elementary.

For more information about the Northshore Schools Foundation, please visit www.NorthshoreSchoolsFoundation.org.