Everett High teacher honored for Navy Jr. ROTC program

SEATTLE — Everett High School teacher Rick Gile, one of nine people nominated for Washington’s Teacher of the Year award, didn’t walk away with the statewide honor Monday.

Instead, he said he walked away with friendships gained during a weekend of meetings with regional winners from across the state.

“The nine of us have a special bond that will never be broken,” he said.

The annual award, presented by state schools superintendent Randy Dorn in Seattle on Monday, went to Jeffrey Charbonneau, who teaches at Zillah High School, recognizing his efforts to increase student interest in science.

Gile, 56, was selected as a regional winner in an area with 35 school districts stretching from the Snohomish County to the Canadian boarder.

Gile, who previously served as a commander in the U.S. Navy, leads the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program at Everett High School.

“I absolutely love what I do,” he said.

Gile said that when he was hired for the job six years ago, he knew it would be a challenge.

“I looked at this and said it’s a very broken program, but I’ll fix it,” he said.

Under his leadership, the program grew from 41 to 120 participants and was later named the most improved unit of its kind in the nation.

Many local organizations, including Everett’s senior center and the city’s parks department know the unit for the thousands of hours the unit devotes to community service projects each year, Gile said.

Gile said the goal of the program isn’t to recruit students to the military but to build a sense of citizenship.

“We pride ourselves by how many go on to higher education,” he said.

Two other Everett teachers also have been nominated for programs honoring professional excellence.

Allison Greenberg, 38, previously taught at Hawthorne Elementary School and now helps guide science programs for the district’s kindergarten and elementary school students.

Debbie Strong, 45, is a fifth-grader teacher at Forest View Elementary School.

They are two of six Washington teachers selected as state-level finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

The award program, established in 1983, is considered the highest recognition that a public school mathematics or science teacher can receive for teaching in the United States.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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