Photographed from left to right: Teacher of the Year Gary Coyan, and OESD Superintendent Greg Lynch
Gary Coyan, Arts/CTE Teacher at Chimacum High School, is definitely a teacher to celebrate! On September 13, 2017, Olympic ESD Superintendent Greg Lynch visited the Chimacum School Board Meeting to present Gary Coyan with his Regional Teacher of the Year Award.
Since 2009, Gary has lived in the Pacific Northwest and for several years has taught art, foods and horticulture classes at Chimacum High School.
Throughout the past several years Gary has created partnerships within the Chimacum Valley that are at the heart of his classes. Gary is happy to share his passions for art, good food and organic farming with students at Chimacum High School. By teaching both foods and horticulture he is able to coordinate the classes so that much of the produce utilized in the foods class is grown by horticulture students in the greenhouse. Gary’s foods students keep and maintain a worm composting bin where all of the classes’ foods scraps end up for eventual use in the school garden. Similarly, the Horticulture class takes the lead on the high school bee apiary that he maintains with the help of the Tri-Area Garden Club and the East Jefferson Bee Keepers Association. Gary has said, “when learning is real and lasting, students thrive.” In fact, his work with bees is so innovative; the Port Townsend Leader published a feature story available at the following link: http://www.ptleader.com/news/chimacum-lands-honor-as-first-bee-city-usa-school/article_b1121dd0-5088-11e7-af84-3b875848cff4.html
His contributions and connections with students don’t stop there. He teaches, coaches, and advises student clubs & senior projects each year. From one of Gary’s essays he stated, “I wasn’t always the best student. I struggled in high school and didn’t feel like I would ever find something worthy of investing my time into. During my sophomore year I found my place, an art class which gave me the freedom to express myself; it also gave me a reason to come to school. I knew I wanted to be a teacher because of the important role my art teacher played in my life. She didn’t just change my life, she may have saved it. Teaching is important to me because I want to be that teacher for someone else.”
From the person who nominated Gary, “Through CTE advisories and his administration of the school-to-work program, Gary connects his students to local artists, chefs and farmers for real world learning experiences. In all of his classes, Gary connects with kids irrespective of income, color and culture, and inspires every student to produce excellent work. In collaboration with his students, he coordinates the Chimacum Heritage newsletter to document the intersections between our students, their learning, and the local community.”
Respected by students, families, fellow staff members, and the community, this honor is well-deserved. Thank you, Gary, for your meaningful contributions to education in our region!Tina Schulz, OESD