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College of Education and Professional Studies

2017 Washington State Teacher of the Year credits passion, and CWU, for honor

Camille JonesCentral Washington University, again, has an alumna who has been named the Washington State Teacher of the Year.

Camille Jones, from Pioneer Elementary School in Quincy, received the 2017 award—becoming the fifth CWU graduate to receive that honor since 2005.

“It is wonderful to see our teacher education alumni being recognized for their great accomplishments,” said Paul Ballard, dean of the CWU College of Education and Professional Studies. “Faculty and staff in the School of Education, work hard to ensure that our students are effectively prepared for success in the teaching profession.”

For the last three years, Jones has developed and expanded the Quincy School District’s science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) enrichment program. Through its STEAM Lab, she works with each of the nearly 450 kindergarten through third-grade students enrolled there.

“I want to help every student expand their vision of the world and what they see their life could be,” she said, “and engage the highly capable students in their education process and challenging them to also achieve their full potential.”

Jones received her elementary education teaching certification from CWU in 2010, taking classes in Ellensburg and at the university’s Wenatchee campus.

“The Central program allowed me to develop a broad range of different skills because it was so diverse,” said Jones, who grew up in Quincy. “If I would not have had a university so close by it [becoming a teacher] may not have become a reality for me.”

Jones, 29, was youngest of eight nominees for the statewide honor. 

“Being the age that I am, what I bring to the table is my perspective from being a millennial,” Jones added. “I understand how truly prepared students have to be to compete in a tough economy.”

Her selection was based on both a written application and interviews. Additionally, nominees were required to outline their proposed teacher-of-the-year message. Jones’s pertained to enrichment.

“Enrichment is often offered only to those considered highly capable—the ‘smart kids,’” Jones explained about her platform. “But we really believe that every student deserves that chance.”

As the state’s top teacher, Jones will be an ambassador for the education profession. Between next January and June, she will serve as Washington’s first Teacher of the Year Teacher-in-Residence.

In addition, Jones is now up for National Teacher of the Year, which will be announced at a White House ceremony next spring. CWU alumnus Jeff Charbonneau, from Zillah High School, received that award in 2013. 

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of radio services and integrated communications, 509-963-1487,

October 5, 2016

Photo: Camille Jones, courtesy Pioneer Elementary.