CWU News

CWU Grad Named Best Teacher in Washington

Another CWU alum has been selected as a Washington Teacher of the Year.

Anndria Cook, ’12, has been selected by her peers across the state as the Washington Art Education Association’s Teacher of the Year at their recent annual conference in Tukwila.

Cook earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Literacy in 2012. She taught music for about 15 years at several private schools in the Lacy area, just north of Olympia. When she earned her degree from CWU, she moved to a position at Woodland Elementary School in the same area.

Cook believes art programs develop the brain and make better sense of other subjects when you teach with art. Cook teaches art using many disciplines to assure her art lessons align with a wider curriculum. Her fourth-grade students create rawhide drums, connecting with social studies classes on Native American culture and history.

Cook graduated from CWU by attending its Pierce campus in Tacoma. Both of her parents graduated from CWU in the 1970s, her mother receiving an elementary school teaching degree. When Cook decided to become a certified teacher, CWU was her first choice. She’s a fifth-generation teacher, every generation following in her great-great grandmother’s footsteps.

“My experience at CWU gave me the tools I needed to fall in love with teaching,” says Cook. “My program director and instructor, Christine English, often “preached” that we needed to fill our toolbox full of every conceivable classroom management strategy, comprehension intervention, and instructional evidence platform because we would encounter many mountains we would need to climb. This toolbox of strategies gives me confidence. Just like climbing a mountain, teaching requires special tools and training that is only gained through quality specialized instruction and CWU prepared me to handle both the challenges and rewards that teaching provides.”

Cook is not the first CWU grad to reach high acclaim. Jeff Charbonneau, a 2000 CWU alumnus and an Eastern Washington science teacher was won the prestigious national Teacher of the Year in 2013 and is now up for The Global Teacher Prize, giving international recognition for outstanding teachers in each region of the globe. Charbonneau, from Zillah High in the Yakima Valley, started to help students get college credit for the classes they take at the high school but not through Advanced Placement tests. Seventy-two classes at Zillah High School can result in credits from Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University or local community colleges.

Diedre Young, ’82, earned two bachelor's degrees from Central Washington University, and was selected as a nominee for People Magazine's Teacher of the Year in 2013. Young is the high school science department head for Ridgway Christian School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.