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Celebrating the 2019-20 Teachers of the Year
Celebrating the 2019-20 Teachers of the Year
Posted on 12/10/2019
Celebrating the 2019-20 Teachers of the Year

Congratulations to Puyallup School District 2019-20 Teachers of the Year:  Debbie Belvill, Hunt Elementary; Heather Carnine, Firgrove Elementary, and Brad Jones, Aylen Junior High.

They were each surprised in front of their peers recently when the announcement was made. Amid cheers and applause from their peers, Superintendent Tim Yeomans highlighted why they were chosen for the honor and presented them with a garden basket of plants.

The Puyallup School Board recognized them at the December 9, 2019 meeting.

The Teacher of the Year award program is designed to recognize a professional classroom teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the education of children. To be eligible for the nomination a teacher must be employed full-time in a certificated position, spend at least 50 percent of their time in a classroom setting with students, and hold a current teaching certificate.

The Teachers of the Year will be honored by the Puyallup School Board during its regularly scheduled meeting on December 9 at Ferrucci Junior High at 6:00 pm.

Debbie Belvill, Hunt Elementary (Region 1)

Fourth grade teacher Debbie Belvill is described as “a mover and a shaker” at Hunt Elementary. Her nomination by Principal Rebecca Williams says “She is a voice of reason amongst her colleagues and is able to help move the culture in ways that best support students.”

Currently in her 19th year at Hunt Elementary, she has taught second, third, and fourth grades. “I have ‘looped’ with students four times and loved those opportunities for building deeper relationships with students and their families,” says Belvill.

Prior to coming to Puyallup, she taught in Franklin Pierce School District for 11 years at James Sales Elementary.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching Belvill said, “The list is long! I love the kids and the opportunity to play a part in their growth. I love the moment when I see a child ‘get’ something in math or laugh at an author’s words, or proudly read their own writing aloud. I love the feeling of working with others who have the same goals, and the challenge of working with those who see things from another perspective. I love the fact that even after doing the same job for almost 30 years, every day is different.”

Belvill’s family surprised her when they attended the all-school assembly where her Teacher of the Year award was announced. She says she was surprised and honored that she was considered for the recognition.

“She does not see her efforts or dedication to the profession as anything but what all teachers should do for kids. Debbie is quietly awesome in her practices – she leads when she must – yet she really shines when she’s helping others grow in their practice.”
Hunt Elementary Principal Rebecca Williams


Heather Carnine, Firgrove Elementary School (Region 2)

Firgrove Elementary sixth grade teacher Heather Carnine is described as innovated and committed to making sure that she does whatever it takes to reach all of her students academically and socially.

She has been an educator for nine years, six of those in the Puyallup School District at Firgrove. She came to Puyallup after teaching in Woodland, Washington for three years. She says Woodland is a small town and it was interesting how the dynamics change from smaller districts to larger ones.

During her career she has taught fourth, fifth, and Title I and says her favorite if sixth grade.

“She is a team player and steps up to collaborate effectively with her team.” Former Assistant Principal Jeannine Medvedich

Carmine says one of her favorite things about teaching are the relationships with students and the real-life conversations they have. “My favorite times are when you get to be the person who makes them laugh or smile, particularly with the kids who don’t get to do those two things often enough.”

The Teacher of the Year surprise announcement came during the Firgrove Veterans Assembly with students, staff, and community members in the audience. She says she is very honored to receive the award, especially since she works with some of the best teachers ever!

“My teammates are some of the most loving, dedicated and hard-working teachers that I know.”
Firgrove Elementary teacher Heather Carmine


Brad Jones, Aylen Junior High (Region 3)

Brad Jones is described as a mentor, a team player who is willing to help, and a teacher who develops incredible rapport with his students.

He has been teaching science and math at Aylen Junior High for 29 years. He has  served as a football and basketball coach and as the building Athletic Director for several years.

Jones was surprised in front of his peers recently when he learned he had been chosen as this year’s Region 3 Teacher of the Year.

His nomination for Teacher of the Year credits Jones with helping scores of students to improve their academic standing in Algebra so they can pass and earn credit. Aylen Principal Kevin Mensonides said Jones has helped reduce the failure rate in Algebra at Aylen to almost zero.

 “He works incredibly well with staff, has a soft spot for disadvantaged students, and has been incredibly effective in supporting struggling students.”
Aylen Principal Kevin Mensonides