National Teacher of the Year Lifts Up Her Immigrant and Refugee Students

Mandy Manning was named National Teacher of the Year for her work with immigrant and refugee students at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington. For the last seven years, she has distinguished herself by focusing on helping these students adjust to a new environment and thrive in their education.

“I am honored and excited to be the 2018 National Teacher of the Year,” Manning said.  “This year I hope to engage the nation in a conversation about how we can encourage students to experience things outside of their understanding.  When we move out of our comfort zones, visit new places, and listen to others’ thoughts, and share of our own opinions, we become compassionate and open.  This is the first step in creating a more hopeful, safer, and kinder society where everyone can be productive, global citizens.”

Manning’s students come to the U.S. from all over the world: Syria, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Sudan, Myanmar, Mexico, Tanzania and beyond.  Most of them are seeking safety, “but they don’t always feel safe here,” she said.  “The current political climate has only increased fear and anxiety.”  Manning describes her role in the classroom as helping students understand current events, know their rights, and learn in a safe and welcoming environment.

Upon accepting her award in Washington D.C., Manning presented the White House with letters from her students expressing what it meant to them to live and learn in America, in hopes of building a bridge of understanding.

Refugees Northwest salutes Mandy Manning and we hope you will take a moment to learn more about her dedication and purposeful work on behalf of her students!

You can hear Mandy Manning in her own words in this KUOW/Seattle radio report from April 23: