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Published: Monday, August 6, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

School Winners

  • Debra Howell, a teacher at Monte Cristo Elementary School in Granite Falls, receives the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Teacher of the Year award J...

    Debra Howell, a teacher at Monte Cristo Elementary School in Granite Falls, receives the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Teacher of the Year award July 23 from VFW National Commander Richard DeNoyer in Reno, Nev.

NJROTC instructor nominated for state teacher of the year
An Everett High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps instructor is being considered as the state's teacher of the year.
Commander Richard Gile in 2007 stepped into his position as senior naval science instructor in the NJROTC classroom at Everett High School. At the time, the program had 41 cadets, and Gile was challenged to reinvigorate the program before it fell victim to dwindling student interest and budget cuts.
Today, the program has more than doubled in size and draws male and female cadets from the district's other high schools. In 2011, the Everett High NJROTC program was recognized by the U.S. Navy as the "most improved" in the country and acknowledged for its high academic achievements.
Former Everett High School District executive director Jim McNally nominated Gile for the award.
"His work with students and staff has resulted in young people thriving and having a better chance to have fully productive and satisfying lives," McNally wrote in the nomination. "Students enter his program as inexperienced and often confused youths and leave as young adults with leadership skills, strong character and ambition to serve."
Gile is the 2012 Everett School District Teacher of the Year and the Northwest Educational Service District's choice for the NWEST Regional Teacher of the Year.
Teacher receives VFW national award
Monte Cristo Elementary School teacher Debra Howell on July 23 received the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Teacher of the Year award in Reno, Nev.
Howell, who teaches fourth- through sixth-grade students at the Granite Falls School, is one of three teachers who were selected as award recipients this year by the national headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Howell in January was honored as the Washington State VFW Elementary Teacher of the Year, which qualified her for the national award. She received a $1,000 donation to her individual professional development account and another $1,000 to her school. Howell plans to buy POW/MIA flags for each of the buildings in the Granite Falls School District with some of the money she received.
A teacher in the Granite Falls School District since 1984, Howell is a past winner of the George Washington Honor Medal, a national award honoring people who have an understanding and appreciation of responsible citizenship. She was the first teacher in the Granite Falls School District to earn her National Board Certification, and was the 2011 National Teacher Hall of Fame Inductee.
Students honored for community service
Two Snohomish County students are recipients of Kohl's Department Stores' Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program.
Abbey Aney, 8, of Monroe and Joel Bervell, 16, of Snohomish, won $1,000 scholarships to put toward post-secondary education. More than 200 youth volunteers were awarded $1,000 scholarships and qualified for $10,000 in total scholarships through the Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program.
For the past four years, Abbey has spent time collecting money through chores, garage sales and lemonade stands in order to donate more than 5,000 new toys to a local food bank.
Joel is the founder and president of Hugs for Ghana. The nonprofit has raised more than $7,000 through various donation drives and has delivered more than 6,000 school supplies, $2,000 worth of medical supplies and more than 5,000 teddy bears to Ghanaian children.
The scholarship winners were chosen based on initiative, leadership, generosity, and project benefits and outcomes.
To submit news for School Winners, contact reporter Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; or email

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