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Mabton educator one of four finalists for national teacher of the year honors

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Mabton High School English teacher Tamara Steen is one of the top four finalists for National Teacher of the Year honors. Steen, who has taught for 22 years, was selected as the state's top educator from among eight regional winners, which put her into the national running. Pictured with Steen are two of her English honors students, Alida Mendoza (R) and Katie Beeman (L).

Mabton Junior/Senior High School English teacher Tamara Steen was recently selected as one of the top four finalists for 2005 National Teacher of the Year honors.

An innovative and compassionate teacher, she takes time to explain the ins and outs of the English language and literature to her students.

Terry Bergeson, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, called the 22-year veteran teacher last week and let her know about the honor of making it to the national level.

Steen was selected as one of the top four finalists by a panel of representatives from various national education organizations, which will ultimately select the teacher for the national honor. President George Bush will announce who has been selected as National Teacher of the Year.

Bergeson said earning this level of national recognition should be considered a tremendous honor, but more importantly, it speaks to the very essence of what it is to be an outstanding educator.

"For most teachers, the greatest recognition of his or her work comes in the form of witnessing the power of education in a student's life," said Bergeson. "So earning the respect and admiration of a national panel of educators seeking excellence in their field speaks a greater truth about Tamara's compassionate heart and tremendous skills."

Steen will have to wait until April to see who has been selected as the National Teacher of the Year. This weekend she will be in Dallas, Texas for the National Teacher of the Year Conference. She will travel to Washington D.C. in April for the announcement of National Teacher of the Year.

This year marks the second in a row that a Washington teacher has been selected as one of the National Teacher of the Year finalists. Garfield-Palouse High School teacher Dennis Griner was one of the four finalists last year.

If selected, during her year of recognition, Steen would act as spokesperson for the teaching profession, addressing forums and meetings across the country and internationally.

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