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Zillah’s Jeff Charbonneau is the 2013 National Teacher of the Year

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Congratulations to Jeff Charbonneau. He won the 2013 National Teacher of the Year award.   Charbonneau found out that he had won when he recieved a phone call from Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. It was announced nationally today on the “CBS This Morning Program.” When he found out he had won , his  first reaction was “Are you sure , are you sure, it’s one of those , you can’t believe this is really happening moments.”  He also said “This award isn’t really about me, it’s about all of the great work my students have been doing over the last 12 years.”   Charbonneau will have to give up teaching for a year as he now becomes an ambassador  for education and will travel around the world.  He has mixed fellings about taking a year off “I’m a teacher at heart and everything I do is for teaching , so at first it was difficult to come to grips that I won’t be in the classroom next year, but I do know that I will be learing a lot and I’ll be able to bring those experences back to Zillah for my students.”  Here are the highlights that got him to this point..

He was one of 12 applicants from south central Washington schools for the Educational Service District 105 Regional Teacher of the Year. This is more than usual as there is often 5-6 applicants. A five member selection committee of local school board members and high school students chose Jeff for the award. It was officially announced in a surprise party in Zillah.

Shortly thereafter, Jeff was announced as the 2013 Washington State Teacher of the Year. He was one of nine throughout the state who were candidates.

In January of this year, Jeff, and three other national finalists, one from Maryland, one from Florida and one from New Hampshire, would meet in Washington D.C. for an extended weekend of formal interview with the National Teacher of the Year selection committee.

Jeff graduated from Zillah High School in 1996, went to Central Washington University and has taught at Zillah High School since 2001.  He will attend a White House Ceremony tomorrow with President Barack Obama.

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