UPDATE - we'll be hosting an informal meet and greet with our new teachers on Thursday, May 9th, 6:30-7:30pm at the Big Howe playground. Stop by to meet the new staff and let your kids run and play. We'll have some munchies, but feel free to bring a picnic dinner. At least 5 new teachers have confirmed that they will be there!
Primary staff (K-2nd Grade)
Jerrika Dickerson is currently a 1st grade teacher in Haltom City, Texas. Chosen to be her school’s Teacher of the Year in 2018-19, she brings her enthusiasm for multiage classes and her passion for learning and teaching to QAE. She was a member of her school’s Building Leadership Team, she was selected to be on a district-level collaboration team on math curriculum development and advanced learning programs, and she was on a school-based team to launch her school as a specialty school.
“I am greatly looking forward to my first year as a Seattleite educator at Queen Anne Elementary this year! I graduated from Dallas Baptist University in 2017 and have been teaching the most wonderful first graders in Texas for the past two years. I am a Colorado native, and a Texan by marriage, but my husband and I are anxious to begin our next adventure in North Seattle this summer. To me, education is more than a passion, it is my calling. I am dedicated to learning beside my students as we tackle new challenges and continually grow. I am overjoyed to be joining the learning movement at QAE and invest in the creative community that thrives here. My simple joys include reading everywhere, all the time, the smell of roasted garlic, and shopping local! I also love cooking my husband a "phenomenal" dinner, swimming, and coffee dates. I just can't wait to meet you!”
“I am very excited to be joining the QAE community! After growing up on Bainbridge Island, I attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida where I received my bachelor’s in Elementary Education while playing college soccer and soaking up the sunshine. Following Rollins, I taught kindergarten at an incredible school named Grand Avenue in the heart of downtown Orlando. I fell in love with teaching primary grades during this time and knew this is where I wanted to be. In 2016 after I had to go on an unexpected sick-leave from teaching, my fiancé Nick and I, and our puppy Finn moved home to Seattle to be closer to family. I have spent the last 2 years transitioning back into my love of teaching as a substitute for Seattle Public Schools, most recently as a long-term Reading Specialist at Catharine Blaine K – 8 School. I am incredibly grateful to have my health back and to be able to do what I love most, teach! This summer my fiancé Nick and I are getting married on Bainbridge Island and we cannot wait! Outside of our careers, you can find us outside hiking, exercising, exploring the PNW, eating good food, reading, watching movies and spending time with our family and friends!”
“My favorite part of teaching is following student questions and interests and all of the unexpected places they take us! Over the past eight years I have taught fifth, first, and fourth grades and a 2nd/3rd grade multiage class. I absolutely love being a lifelong learner beside my student. I grew up just outside of Washington, D.C. area and attended the College of William and Mary in Virginia for my undergraduate degree. I later moved to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania for my graduate degree in education. After years of living on the east coast, I picked up and moved to Seattle in 2014. I instantly felt a connection with this dynamic city and the surrounding mountains and water. I never want to leave! I currently live in Capitol Hill with my husband and two cats. If it’s nice out you can find us on our porch with friends. You might also look for me on my yoga mat, on a hike, or at my artist table writing and illustrating comics!”
“I grew up in Colorado and went to college at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I then moved to Seattle to get my master’s degree in teaching at Seattle Pacific University. I live in Seattle with my husband, Sam, and I enjoy traveling, being outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my friends and family. I am very excited to be a part of the QAE community!”
Mike Backman is currently a 5th grade teacher at Midway Elementary School in Des Moines, WA. He has taught 5th grade for four years and been a lead teacher on their ReadyMath program. He has taught in both the U.S., Ireland and Thailand, which allows him to bring his knowledge and appreciation for culturally responsive teaching to his students and families.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Queen Anne Elementary team! I have been working in education for the past 6 years after earning my B.A. from The University of Iowa and my M.Ed from Seattle University. After graduating from Iowa, I spent time teaching in Ireland, Thailand and Minnesota before I decided to move to the pacific northwest 4 years ago to teach 5th grade. I fell in love with Seattle immediately and have never looked back on my decision to move west from snowy Minneapolis! When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy spending time outside hiking, running, reading, and drinking coffee. I am thrilled to start this new chapter and can’t wait to meet everyone who makes the Queen Anne Elementary community great!”
“I’m excited to be joining the Queen Anne community this fall! Originally from Southern California, I taught in Los Angeles before moving to Seattle to study curriculum and instruction at UW and to coach preservice teachers in Seattle schools. I took a two-year break from my studies to teach at the University of Fukui in Japan and work with teachers in Japan and Singapore on a collaborative project studying project-based learning. After teaching mathematics education courses for Western Washington University and finishing my doctorate at UW, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in the classroom! All my experiences have led me right back to the most important part about teaching: students. I’m excited to join a school community that focuses on students’ social and emotional learning and project-based learning. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy cooking and trying new foods, hanging out with my partner and our dog Ginger, traveling, and doing anything that gets me outside, like hiking and rowing.”
“I am so excited to join Queen Anne Elementary this year! After spending a decade away from the area, I am so inspired to find the school of my dreams right back in my home. Project-Based Learning, partnerships with parents, and an intentional focus on Social-Emotional Learning? Yep, I knew QAE was "the one!" I studied Spanish Language and Culture and earned my TESOL certificate at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Years later, I returned to school and graduated with my MA.Ed at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Over the years I've been so fortunate to have teaching experiences in a public school in Spain, an international school in Turkey, a Catholic school in Long Beach, and a public dual-immersion school in Los Angeles. Every experience in my teaching has reaffirmed with conviction that our children are at the center of education, not teachers. Now, coming into my 8th year of teaching, I can't imagine a better place to be than at Queen Anne Elementary. Outside of the classroom, I am a Pacific Northwest enthusiast: I love coffee-house culture, our excellent alternative rock scene, and a good hike. I'm an active member in a lay-Buddhist organization and recently became a member of the Nordic Heritage Museum. After filling my passport last year, I'm determined to travel abundantly and fill my new one! I'm looking forward to meeting the families and children of Queen Anne Elementary and joining this great community!”
Dr. Emily Valdez is our enthusiastic new librarian. She has been a Special Education teacher and ELL teacher, and will now become our QAE teacher librarian. She brings her doctorate in educational innovations and policy and her rich teaching experience to lead our beloved library.
“I'm so excited to be a part of the QAE community as a teacher librarian. After earning my BA from Bowdoin College, I traveled the world for a year on my own to get a better sense of what I wanted to do with my life. After a short stint in a software start-up, I went back to school to get my M.Ed in special education. For three years I taught special education in a high school in rural Idaho and decided that I wanted to get my doctorate. I headed for Seattle and started the program at UW. After fifteen years of doing research on educational innovations and policy, I decided that I missed the classroom and most of all I missed daily interactions with students and other teachers. I recently went back to school (again) to get my endorsement in library and media science at SPU where I discovered the best job possible---teacher librarian, which combines my absolute love of books and kids. When I'm not in the library, I enjoy hiking, camping, and playing sports with my daughter, Eva; my husband; and my black lab, Helo.”
We'll also be announcing a new art teacher soon!
Thank you to our dedicated QAE Hiring Teams: Lorin Belcher, Julie Colando, Jen Dickens, Sarah Goldman, Erin Knapp, Priyanka Jayanthi, Devin Liner, Rachel Marks, Molly Meck, Laura Shaw, Michele Christensen, Leslie Jaynes, Gillian Jorgensen, Sandra Nanney, Pia Silverlieb, Jody Stewart, and Ian Stewart. Many thanks to the additional families and friends who provided child care to make our many interviews possible. Specific teaching assignments will be determined in the weeks ahead once our teams have a chance to plan together.