Connections: Linking Talented Educators
Connections: Linking Talented Educators

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Nathan Gibbs-Bowling Named 2016 Washington Teacher of the Year

September 21, 2015
Nathan Gibbs Bowling profile

Milken Award winner Nathan Gibbs-Bowling (WA '13) received another high honor for his outstanding teaching when he was named Washington’s 2016 Teacher of the Year on Sept. 21, 2015 in Seattle.

Gibbs-Bowling was honored, along with nine other regional teachers of the year, at the EMP Museum, where State Superintendent Randy Dorn congratulated each one on their accomplishments as dedicated and effective educators.

“Nathan and the 2016 Teachers of the Year are great examples of the deep caring educators have for their students and communities," Dorn said. "This is not just a job for them. It is a calling. They put everything they have into helping their students learn because they know student success affects the whole community. They all have great big hearts, and although they are definitely experts in their subjects, they also realize at the end of the day, they don’t teach math or English or social studies. They teach kids.”

Gibbs-Bowling is starting his 10th year of teaching at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, where he currently teaches AP government and human geography. Gibbs-Bowling was honored with the 2013 Milken Educator Award for his exceptional talents as a dynamic and engaging classroom teacher (see the photo gallery and video from that award celebration). 

He's highly respected by his colleagues who describe him as a cultivator of student minds. He instills in students a desire to do better than good and is an advocate for positive change within the teaching profession that leads to the retention of high-achieving educators through his work as co-founder of Teachers United, a network of Washington state teachers who believe that every student deserves an excellent teacher. 

Visitors to Gibbs-Bowling's classroom emerge awestruck by his knack for providing strong leadership and direction while letting the students do the majority of the talking. Much of his success can be attributed to his skill at relationship building, which has its roots in his deep commitment to the community where he grew up and now teaches. 

“Even if I aced the test, he always saw room where I could do better,” said former student Trang Tran. “He continuously pushed me to my limits, never allowing me to settle with what was good. He wanted great. This made me driven and determined to strive for greatness beyond what I even expected of myself. I worked harder, applied to schools that I never even dreamed of, and got more involved. I wanted to make him proud of me.”

Read more in this Washington State Office of Public Instruction release

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