Pacific Middle School teacher Jeffrey Steen has been named a winner of the 22nd Annual Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education, sponsored by KCTS 9.
The annual awards celebrate educators, programs and schools making a positive difference in Washington state education from early childhood through high school.
Steen is in his 17th year of teaching music at Pacific, including band, choir, guitar and strings.
“I am honored to receive the award because so much of what teachers do goes unnoticed by many,” said Steen. “My favorite part about being a teacher is working with students and I feel really lucky to have pursued a career that I love.”
Steen was selected from among individuals and programs from public and private schools across the state nominated by students, parents, teachers and community members. A panel of education leaders from the community and past Golden Apple Award winners evaluated the nominees and selected 12 winners.
“Jeffrey has developed a diverse award winning music program with high expectations and rigor for every student,” said Highline Visual and Performing Arts Specialist Stefan Nelson. “His work at Pacific Middle School and the broader Highline Public Schools continues to be a welcome force of positive change for students and families to gain better access to arts education.”
Here is an excerpt from the KCTS 9 press release issued Tuesday about Steen:
“When Jeffrey Steen first arrived at Pacific Middle School 15 years ago, there were two band classes; today, Pacific boasts a flourishing music program that offers two band classes, choir, a “World Strings” class and a class in guitar and ukulele. Northwest Symphony Orchestra (NWSO) Music Director Anthony Spain praises Jeffrey for “always going the extra mile;” that approach is reflected in a sophisticated music program that provides students with many unique learning opportunities. Every spring, Jeffrey takes the school’s wind ensemble to California to compete in the Heritage Festival, where the group consistently earns high honors. Pacific’s young musicians also have had exciting opportunities to work with composers. Last year, students joined with the NWSO to perform a new piece of music written by Glenn Crytzer; the composer worked closely with the students for months, inviting their input and affording them a close-up look at the composing process. Beyond the walls of Pacific Middle School, Jeffrey’s active advocacy for arts education has inspired strong parental and community support that has led to an increase in class offerings at middle schools throughout Highline Public Schools.”
All 2013 Golden Apple winners will be honored at an awards ceremony held on January 17, 2014 at Seattle Repertory Theater. Each winner will receive the Golden Apple statue and a cash award, and will also be profiled by KCTS 9 and featured in a primetime broadcast on public television stations statewide in February 2014.