Award-Winning MiT Alumni
Evergreen’s Master in Teaching (MiT) alumni don’t work for awards, yet they do a fine job of winning them.
by D.W. Kana Shephard MPA ’05
Take Nate Gibbs-Bowling, a social studies teacher at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., who earned his undergraduate degree in 2004 and his MiT in 2006. In 2013, he received what is known as the “Oscar of Teaching,” a $25,000 Milken Educator Award. Each year, the Milken Family Foundation honors 35 early-to-mid-career education professionals for their impressive, future-shaping achievements. Gibbs-Bowling was the only Washington state recipient of a Milken Educator Award for 2013-14.
Then there’s Sean Riley, MiT ’05 who teaches literature and composition at the Global Connections High School in SeaTac, Wash. He was awarded Evergreen’s 2014 PK–12 Distinguished Educator of the Year Award. His school’s principal lauded Riley, saying, “The hallmark of Sean’s approach to teaching [is] that all students find relevance and meaning in learning.” Evergreen holds an awards dinner each year at which it honors MiT alumni educators who have made significant contributions to the field of education.
When asked why he teaches, Gibbs-Bowling replied it isn’t because of an award he might receive one day. It has to do with how he learned, what he learned, with whom he learned, and how he gets to share that with each and every one of his students daily. “I have an established network of teachers who I can talk to in person or by email. When we get together, I love that a roomful of Greeners speak the same language, talk from the ‘known known,’ and operate from the same pedagogy.” His greatest award isn’t the Milken; it's what happens to his students. “If I am excited about teaching,” said Gibbs-Bowling, “my students are excited about learning.”