Celebrating our Exceptional Teachers!

Our Bellevue School District teachers work hard every day to support our students and fellow staff members. Our teachers go above and beyond their classroom work, spending countless hours planning lessons, coaching and mentoring students, and volunteering in the community.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked our BSD community to share “Thank A Teacher” messages to celebrate the many ways teachers empower our students to learn and thrive as creators of their future world.

Thank you to all the BSD staff, families and students for submitting “Thank A Teacher” messages and joining us in celebrating our teachers!

teachers in hallway at base of stairs, celebrating with hands in the air.

Shout out to the teaching staff at Sammamish HS!

“I want to highlight the teaching staff at SHS during this week of appreciation because they go above and beyond in supporting students. I love them and am proud to work with each of them. I want everyone to know the Sammamish staff is the bomb dot com! Thanks for ALLLLLLLL you do for our kids and each other.” —Anecia Grigsby, SHS Assistant Principal

Teacher Appreciation Week - Anita Damjanovic, Andria Quarry, Cynthia Nguyen

Shout out to Anita Damjanovic, ISA Teacher at Tillicum MS!
“Her brilliance and complete professionalism. She is always looking for ways to keep kids engaged that are in-line with current brain research. Gracias!” —BSD Parent

Shout out to Andria Quarry, Math Teacher at Highland MS!
“She is the best math teacher I have ever seen. She really makes it a priority to help every student understand the lessons. She always has a positive attitude. ” —BSD Parent

Shout out to Cynthia Nguyen, 4th Grade Teacher at Stevenson Elementary!
“She is very professional and dedicated to her students. It only remains to say thank you for all your dedication. Happy Teacher’s Day!” —BSD Parent

Teacher Appreciation Week - Kin Hay, Patricia Beltran, Arlene Carlson Payne

Shout out to Kim Hay, Special Education Teacher at Tillicum MS!
“Ms. Hay is not only an exceptional teacher she also understands the social dynamics and emotions of middle schoolers. Her holistic approach of respect, fun and high standards makes her an exceptional educator.” —Christina, BSD Parent

Shout out to Patricia Beltran, English/LA Teacher at Sammamish HS!
“You make my daughter feel smart, and more importantly you make her feel heard. Sometimes as a parent, I fall short and I feel like you have helped boost her spirits this year. Know that what you do matters, and matters for the long term!” —BSD Parent

Shout out to Arlene Carlson Payne, Pacific Teacher at Highland MS!
“She is very sweet with the students, she has great projects for them to learn. She is wonderful at communicating with families and we can see she is doing the best for each one of her students. She loves her students, does not judge them on their behaviors. She is able to see through these behaviors and she knows the real individuals. Thank you for your work, Mrs. CP!” —BSD Parent

Teacher Appreciation Week - Beth Gatewood

Shout out to Beth Gatewood, Science Teacher at Olde Middle School!

“Ms. Gatewood is an inspiring science educator. She encourages her students to reach and try, even when it’s challenging or they hit obstacles. She finds work and labs that are motivating to do. She watches out for each and every child, intellectually and emotionally. She communicates well with students and parents, earns trust, and meets everyone with humanity, kindness, and empathy.” ⁠—BSD Parent

Teacher Appreciation Week - Susan Wilson, Ian Lee, Rebecca Nord

Shout out to Susan Wilson, 1st Grade Teacher at Woodridge!
“Susan Wilson goes above and beyond to support her students. Woodridge is lucky to have had her all these years!!!” —Judy, BSD Staff

Shout out to Ian Lee, P.E. Teacher at Highland MS!
“I overheard my son talking with his friends. They all agreed that Mr. Lee is their favorite teacher at Highland. He was really great last year during remote learning.” —BSD Parent

Shout out to Rebecca Nord, Math Teacher at Tillicum MS!
“Mrs. Nord was my 6th grade math teacher. She is always so happy and kind-hearted throughout the entire day. I greet her every time I pass her classroom at school, and she always replies with a huge smile on her face. She never hesitates to make sure all students understand the lesson, even during tutorial after school when most people just wish they could be done for the day and go home. She puts so much effort into caring for everyone, which I will always admire. Plus, she has a diffuser so her classroom always smells really good. I loved when she used the lemon scent.” —Maya, BSD Student

Teacher Appreciation Week - Nikki Unck, Jeff Hunsberger, Celeste Blair

Shout out to Nikki Unck, 5th grade teacher at Newport Heights!
“Amazing teacher!” —Ruvini, BSD Parent

Shout out to Jeff Hunsberger, CTE Teacher at Tillicum MS!
“This teacher is our schools tech teacher. I appreciate Mr. Hunsberger because he is a very nice teacher with everyone and he has taught me a lot over the 2 years I have had him. He recommended me to an amazing tech camp and I really appreciate and thank him for that.” —Shaniah, BSD Student

Shout out to Celeste Blair, Math Teacher at Tillicum MS!
“Ms. Blair is a math teacher at our school. I appreciate her because she is an amazing math teacher and she is really funny. She is an amazing math teacher because she explains everything very well.” —Shaniah, BSD Student

Teacher Appreciation Week - Cheryl Lee, Kendall Johnson, Carin Beba

Shout out to Cheryl Lee, MS Language Arts & Advisory Teacher at Big Picture School!
“Cheryl really helps my student think strategically about his projects and class assignments while also helping him think broadly about how he learns and what works best for his learning style. She challenges him ways that empower him and I see him really come to life with her guided prompts to support his conclusions. I am so thankful for her and the entire Big Picture staff, especially building leadership! THANK YOU, CHERYL LEE AND BIG PICTURE STAFF!” —Janine, BSD Parent

Shout out to Kendall Johnson, CTE Teacher at Tillicum MS!
“He has good lessons, everyone understands him.” —Maksim, BSD Student

Shout out to Carin Beba, Second Grade Teacher at Clyde Hill!
“Carin is creative and a natural leader in her team. She is flexible and willing to try new things in service of students. Ms. Beba make me a better leader and brings so much joy to our community! Carin is a super Cougar and lives our school values each and every day! Keep up the phenomenal work!” —Brooke Garcia, BSD Staff

Teacher Appreciation Week - Gwyn Barkman, Ms Chung-Hui Sung, Homa Hassan

Shout out to Gwyn Barkman, Band Teacher at Tillicum MS!
“She is so dedicated to music! She takes kids who barely played at all last year and makes them true musicians — sometimes on multiple instruments! She also creates a community where kids care about music and about each other. Field trips are super hard to do — thanks for all the efforts in organizing. These are memories that last a lifetime!” —BSD Parent

Shout out to Ms. Chung-Hui Sung, First Grade Teacher at Jing Mei!
“Her kindness and compassion, and her patience with students.” —BSD Student

Shout out to Homa Hassan, Kindergarten Teacher at Clyde Hill!
“Ms. Homa loves children, practices individual approach and never gives up. We are lucky and grateful for starting school at Ms. Homa’s class.” —Olga Chigintseva, BSD Parent

Teacher Appreciation Week - Carol Losi, Melinda Pederson, Kristin Butler

Shout out to Carol Losi, Math Teacher at Sammamish HS!
“Somehow my daughter understands math this year– a truly rare occurrence! She even says, “it’s easy,” I haven’t heard that about math since 3rd grade. The note of encouragement was truly appreciated” —BSD Parent

Shout out to Melinda Pederson, 4th Grade Teacher at Cherry Crest!
“Mrs. Pederson is a wonderful teacher! My daughter has really enjoyed learning this year and excitedly shares stories from their class lessons and projects. Thank you, Mrs. Pederson for everything that you do for our children. You make an impact every day and we’re so grateful.” —BSD Parent

Shout out to Kristin Butler, 5th Grade Teacher at Newport Heights!
“Amazing teacher!” —Ruvini, BSD Parent


The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.