A Pasco Spanish teacher who spent the past 12 years teaching kindergartners has been named regional Teacher of the Year.
Bernice Hanan is the seventh Pasco School District teacher since 2006 to receive the honor in Educational Service District 123, according to a news release.
Hanan started teaching Spanish at Chiawana High School this year.
Hanan, who will compete for the annual state award later this month, said teaching has been her life and that the excitement of her students has motivated her. Educators who have worked with her spoke about her talent in the classroom.
"It's like (the students are) watching a movie, they're just glued to her," said LeAnn Nunamaker, Pasco's director of curriculum and professional development.
Hanan has taught for 30 years in public and private schools and at the K-12 and college levels.
Before moving to Chiawana, she was a teacher in the district's Dual Language Program at Maya Angelou Elementary School. The program works to give students from English-speaking and Spanish-speaking backgrounds proficiency in both languages.
"Seeing that light bulb come on is always a thrill," Hanan said in the release. "My job is never dull. For me, teaching is not just a vocation, it is the driving force in my life."
Nunamaker said she nominated Hanan for the award after working with her for years as principal at Maya Angelou. She also said Hanan has a great love of learning and is dedicated to her students.
As a dual language teacher, Hanan taught only in Spanish, using gestures and acting to communicate with her young kindergartners so they understood and developed their vocabulary.
"To watch her in her classroom, she's just a master of what she does," Nunamaker told the Herald.
-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver