Tamara Steen, 2005 Washington Teacher
of the Year
Tamara Steen is an English and art teacher (grades 9-12) at Mabton Junior/Senior High School in Mabton, Washington. Steen has taught at this school of 398 students for 22 of her 23 years in the education profession.
“Love, when combined with discipline and high expectations, is a powerful thing,” Steen says. “In a school like mine—and likely any school--high standards and creativity will not by themselves produce the results I want. Students need to feel connected; some are so wounded by life they cannot begin to function academically until they realize a teacher actually cares about them personally. Sometimes we as teachers must even be willing to be surrogate parents. To the students whose lives we touch, we are all the teacher of a lifetime because making a difference in a single life means we help to change the world for the better. With this in mined, we teachers must envision success for our students so strongly that the vision becomes contagious and our students catch it and refuse to ever let it go.”